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Rejected Mayoral Petition Organiser Says She Will Try Again

Published on: 6 Mar, 2016
Updated on: 6 Mar, 2016
Petition organiser Monika Juneja

Petition organiser Monika Juneja

The organiser of a controversial petition for a directly elected mayor has said that she intends to continue collecting signatures and will present the petition to the council again, following its rejection by Guildford Borough Council last week.

Monika Juneja the former senior Conservative borough councillor who was in charge of planning wants to force the council to hold a referendum on whether Guildford should have a directly elected mayor, like Boris Johnson in London.

Stephen Mansbridge responding to Cllr Gunning on July 28 2015

Stephen Mansbridge denied he wanted to be the elected mayor during a council meeting on July 28 2015

Stephen Mansbridge, a friend and business colleague of Ms Juneja and the former leader of GBC, was exposed by The Guildford Dragon NEWS as a covert supporter of the petition in September, shortly before he resigned from the council. He denied that he wished to be the elected mayor.

The Dragon also discovered that local entrepreneur, Michel Harper, a long standing advocate of the elected mayor system, had part funded the payments given to those collecting signatures.

Unlike the existing ceremonial mayor, a directly elected mayor would have extensive control of the council. Some view this as a dangerous concentration of power, others as a better way to “get things done”.

Ms Juneja said: “Giving the public an opportunity to elect a Mayor of Guildford will be a huge benefit for our local democracy. We have a duty to the 7,000+ signatories who want a better, more accountable governance model, and we will be presenting more signatures to the council in due course.”

But the former councillor’s erstwhile colleagues are understood to be annoyed that attempts to force a referendum continue. The council, which, following an extensive review, only revised its governance model in the Autumn, is likely to continue to strictly examine the signatures presented to ensure that they are valid, i.e. the signatures of those registered to vote in the borough.

Additionally, the signatures must have been given within the last 12 months. The petition was started before the last elections in May, so some signatures will become invalid in two month’s time.

This is already proving a problem for another petition, also seeking to force a referendum, hoping to make the council revert to a committee style of governance. This petition was organised by Susan Parker, who was subsequently elected as a Guildford Greenbelt Group councillor for Send.

She and other petition supporters feel that the existing “strong leader and executive” model already concentrates too much power in the hands of a few councillors, with others having a very limited influence on decisions.

5,012 valid signatures (i.e. from five per cent of the electorate) are required for either petition to be accepted. If any referendum is held on the system of governance it would be usual that another could not be forced for ten years, so effectively the two petitions are in competition.

The “7,000+ signatories” figure referred to by Ms Juneja is understood to include those signatures rejected by GBC.

See also: Mayoral Petition Fails Verification For The Second Time

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Responses to Rejected Mayoral Petition Organiser Says She Will Try Again

  1. Rosie Taylor Reply

    March 6, 2016 at 3:17 pm

    “a directly elected mayor, like Boris Johnson in London”

    a mayor like Boris? The horror! The horror!

  2. Jim Allen Reply

    March 6, 2016 at 4:37 pm

    So this woman continues — when will she get the message?

  3. Mary Bedforth Reply

    March 7, 2016 at 8:39 am

    She is nothing but obtuse.

  4. David (George) Roberts Reply

    March 7, 2016 at 3:41 pm

    Juneja is a convicted forger and impostor who is still serving her sentence.

    As pointed out elsewhere, if anyone is worried about the authenticity of the signatures on her petition, they only have to ask the police to investigate.

    The police cannot do that unless someone complains.

  5. Valerie Thompson Reply

    March 7, 2016 at 5:43 pm

    How dare this disgraced former councillor, with a criminal record, still attempt to influence how Guildford is run.

    The last thing we need in Guildford is a politically-motivated mayor controlling or dominating the GBC.

    They have already undergone a recent change to their governance and could do with concentrating on managing the GBC more efficiently than in the past few years.

    Let us keep the position of mayor as a, more or less, honorary position.

  6. Dave Middleton Reply

    March 7, 2016 at 7:07 pm

    Is there nothing that can be done to stop this person meddling in the affairs of our local government and costing us, the local taxpayers money?

    Let’s make this absolutely clear. She is a convicted criminal, convicted of forgery and deception, who is, I believe, still under suspended sentence, who has no credibility whatsoever to the decent, law abiding people of Guildford. Has she no shame whatsoever?

    See: Former Councillor Receives Suspended Sentence at the Old Bailey

    Can’t she go away and leave us alone!

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