Fringe Box



“Shock” At News That Respected Former Shalford Councillor Was Passed Over

Published on: 24 Apr, 2017
Updated on: 26 Apr, 2017

Former councillor Simon Gimson

Some local councillors have been “shocked” to learn that a respected former Surrey county councillor, whose almost certain re-election in 2013 was scuppered by an agent’s error in the nomination process, was passed over as a Conservative party candidate for the forthcoming county council election.

Simon Gimson the former Tory county councillor for Shalford put himself forward for nomination to retake his Shalford division seat from the current UKIP incumbent George Johnson.

But his hopes were dashed when a hustings meeting instead chose the existing deputy leader of Guildford Borough Council, Matt Furniss (Con, Christchurch) as their candidate. Barring a political earthquake he is almost certain to regain this safe county council seat for the Conservatives.

In 2013 Cllr Johnson acknowledged during his election victory address that his unlikely win was due to the Conservative nomination debacle, pointing out that over 100 voters, presumably denied their chance to vote for Gimson, had spoilt their ballot papers.

Even political adversaries, such as Lib Dem councillor David Goodwin (Guildford South West) acknowledged, at the time, that Gimson had been a conscientious councillor with whom he had been able to do business.

One Conservative borough councillor informed of Gimson’s non-selection, told The Guildford Dragon NEWS: “I was shocked and I think it has certainly raised some eyebrows. Simon Gimson was a well respected councillor.”

Another said that he did not think many Conservative councillors knew it had happened.

Matt Furniss

The secretive Guildford Conservative Association reveals little of their selection processes and it refused to comment at the time of Furniss’s selection. But it is understood that the process is in two parts. First a panel selects potential candidates for their suitability and then those selected can choose to go before local hustings meetings of the wards or divisions they would like to represent.

In the Shalford selection it seems that there were just two candidates at the second stage, both of whom addressed the meeting. The candidates left the meeting while the vote was taken.

The Shalford county council division is extensive covering: Tongham, Seale, Wanborough, Puttenham, Compton, Artington and Peasmarsh as well as Shalford village.

Gimson lives in Wanborough while Furniss’ home address according to  the GBC website is Boxgrove Avenue in Guildford, outside the division.

The Guildford Dragon asked Cllr Furniss why, in the circumstances, Simon Gimson had not been given an unchallenged chance to continue and whether he could represent, simultaneously, two separate areas of Guildford, albeit on different councils, without any conflicts of interest?

Bob Hughes

Furniss did not reply but passed our request to Bob Hughes, the chairman of Guildford Conservatives who is also standing as a SCC candidate, for Guildford South West, probably the most marginal of the seats in the Guildford divisions.

He said: “The Conservative branches in Shalford democratically chose Matt Furniss as their candidate from amongst those who had expressed an interest. The party and all those who put their name in are very happy with the process that we followed.

“Shalford needs a county councillor who understands the issues that are so important to the area. It is clear that his knowledge of the issues and his dedication to the town and our villages is recognised locally.

“Matt Furniss brings experience and energy and is the best county councillor Shalford could have.”

Bob Hughes has a political background. He was an MP and a minister in John Major’s government and became deputy chairman of Guildford Conservatives about 18 months ago and chairman at the beginning of March (2017).

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Responses to “Shock” At News That Respected Former Shalford Councillor Was Passed Over

  1. Martin Elliott Reply

    April 24, 2017 at 12:44 pm

    Another ‘Double Hatting’ for a rising political star?

    It’s an alternative route a prospective MP to rise up the ladder rather than having to work in Conservative Central Office or as one of their media or research partners.

    Makes you wonder why the more mature incumbents do it though.

  2. Peta Malthouse Reply

    April 24, 2017 at 4:46 pm

    The answer is vote for Nick Norton the Guildford Greenbelt Guardian candidate, who is hot on issues of air pollution,the need for appropriate infrastructure.

    I know Nick as a hard working and conscientious former parish councillor at Normandy and delivered his leaflets for him in Wanborough. I find it difficult to understand how Cllr Furniss thinks he can be deputy leader at GBC and find time to canvass for a SCC seat at this time.

    Nick understands the issues for Shalford and Tongham, Wanborough, Shalford, Compton, Puttenham, Artington and Seale (have I left anything out?) they are almost the same as all villages in Surrey: education, infrastructure, air pollution and care of the elderly. They are all high on his agenda.

    I think the cosy Conservative rule needs shaking up. Nick believes in pubic service not personal aggrandisement. I am proud to have him as a friend.

  3. Jules Cranwell Reply

    April 25, 2017 at 8:47 pm

    I could not agree more. Nick Norton is a passionate and committed advocate for all that is good about the borough that the Tories are so hell bent on destroying in the pursuit of their own aggrandisement.

  4. Ngaire Wadman Reply

    April 28, 2017 at 5:30 pm

    I’ve heard nothing but praise for the way George Johnson has carried out his duties as a county councillor. Yes, he may have benefitted from an agent’s error, but he’s worked extremely hard for the people of Shalford and gained their enthusiastic support.

    Young Mr. Furniss has yet to impress Guildford taxpayers with his performance on the borough council.

    As George Johnson is standing for re-election, with the firm support of many Shalford residents, this could be far from a Tory pushover.

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