Fringe Box



The Borough Council Election – Ward by Ward Analysis Part 4 – Stoughton to Worplesdon

Published on: 19 Apr, 2023
Updated on: 20 Apr, 2023

By Martin Giles

This is the fourth article in a four-part series.

The result of a Guildford Borough Council election has never been so uncertain and votes are likely to count more than ever before.

Correction: It was previously stated that Gillian Harwood a Lib Dem candidate in Stoughton North was retiring. This was incorrect, she is standing. We apologise for our error.

See other articles in this series here

After decades of dominance by the Conservative Party, with occasional interludes of Lib Dem or no overall control a new party, the Residents for Guildford & Villages, smashed their way into the duopoly, pushing aside the Tories, to eventually share power with the Lib Dems.

But this was not a match made in heaven and there have been many falling outs which, as time progressed, became more and more public.

The big question now is can the independent parties R4GV and GGG (Guildford Greenbelt Group), with their partial election pact, hold their ground or even increase their presence at the borough council after the election on May 4? R4GV’s failure to review the Local Plan, and its support for controversial town centre developments, might count against it, aggravated by the “Battle for Guildford” video circulating on social media.

And would returning to sole control by the national parties improve things? Would more voters get council policies they would support?

Conservatives are campaigning against a national background of anti-Tory sentiment following “Partygate” and the disastrous Liz Truss premiership. And given their track record locally, will their new town centre “preservation” policy have credibility and attract support or will voters still hold the Local Plan controversy against them?

Nationally the Labour Party are riding high in the polls but will that translate into even a modest increase in the number of seats they win in Guildford borough?

And can the Lib Dems clean up simply by being none of the above even if their planning policy is unclear and their ambition to build 3,000 council houses still unrealistic?

GBC’s new 2023 ward boundaries with the number of seats for each ward shown.

Ward-by-ward analysis:

The corresponding 2019 results but ward boundaries have changed and one ward has been redrawn as two.

Stoughton (two wards, four seats)

The Conservatives, Labour, the Liberal Democrats and Residents for Guildford & Villages are all putting up two candidates each in these new wards resulting from the division of the former single ward which had three seats.

Veteran Lib Dem councillor Pauline Searle, a former Mayor of Guildford, is retiring. The affable Masuk Miah, the nominated mayor expected to take over in May, is also standing. His plans will have to change if he fails to get elected.

Of the Conservative candidates, only David Quelch has been a councillor before. He lost out in 2019.

These look safe bets for the Lib Dems when considering their majority in 2019. But one thing does seem almost certain, the admirably persistent John Morris with his message of peace will not become a councillor.

Stoughton North (two seats)


Andy Giess – Labour Party
Shelley Grainger – Labour Party
Lizzie Griffiths – Liberal Democrats
Gillian Michelle Harwood – Liberal Democrats
Neda Moghaddam – Residents for Guildford and Villages
David James Quelch – Conservative Party
Stephen Charles Rowden – Conservative Party
Bill Stokoe – Residents for Guildford and Villages

Stoughton South (two seats)


Alex Dinc – Conservative Party
George Dokimakis – Labour Party
Andre Stewart Hester – Conservative Party
Tom Kenneth Johnston – Residents for Guildford and Villages
Masuk Miah – Liberal Democrats
John Hugh Morris – The Peace Party – Nonviolence, Justice, Environment
Zoë Nash-Williams – Residents for Guildford and Villages
Anne Catherine Rouse – Labour Party
Katie Steel – Liberal Democrats

The corresponding 2019 results but ward boundaries may have changed.

Tillingbourne (two seats)

Tillingbourne ward is a bit of an anomaly. Mostly designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty it is less threatened by the Guildford Local Plan than other wards in the east of the borough.

The 2021 by-election result. Lib Dem Richard Morris won easily but he is standing down after only six months.

In 2019, with the Conservatives at their nadir of popularity, voters elected a Green councillor Diana Jones. No one was more surprised than she was; she did not even attend the count to hear her victory announcement.

At the same time, the late and popular Conservative Richard Billington was nervous of his own chances but hung on to his seat and was able to fulfil his commitment to be the Mayor of Guildford for what became an extended two-year term because of the pandemic.

Following his death, in a by-election in October last year, the Lib Dem candidate Richard Morris ran away with it, securing nearly 50 per cent of the vote, but has strangely decided not to stand in May, just six months later.

Paul Abbey standing for the Lib Dems has just transferred his political affiliation to them and his residence from Ash South, which he represented over the previous four years. Conservative Bob Hughes is a former MP and currently a county councillor for Shere. He won his seat when the non-Conservative vote was split between The Greens and the Guildford Green Belt Group.

A major topical issue in this ward is said to be the weight of traffic on its old roads of insufficient capacity but difficult to upgrade.

Results here have recently been inconsistent but the trend seems to be in the wrong direction for the Tories. It is hard to call this result other than Labour will struggle to attract many votes however good their candidates are.

There is almost a completely fresh set of candidates. Only Labour’s impressive John Marsh stood in the by-election and there are no survivors from 2019.


Paul Francis Abbey – Liberal Democrats
Lucy Emma Howard – Green Party
Bob Hughes – The Conservative Party
John Edward Marsh – Labour Party
Danielle Newson – Liberal Democrats
Lynette Judaea Schoen Nusbacher – The Conservative Party
Jim Wynn – Labour Party

The corresponding 2019 results but ward boundaries may have changed.

Westborough (three seats)

Any Lib Dem defeats here would be a real shock. But turn-ups do happen. In 2015 two Conservatives were elected. No one seemed more surprised than they were.

Paul Spooner, the Conservative group leader at GBC, is standing here having decided to step away from his home Ash South ward. He can’t be expecting to win.

Westborough, up until the 1990s, was a Labour stronghold but surprisingly they are only fielding a single candidate here, former Vapors drummer Howard Smith.

Off the record, Labour members admit that the political profile of the electorate in Westborough has changed and that their supporters might vote tactically. Nevertheless, the three runners-up in 2019 were Labour.

Candidates include Lib Dem council leader Julia McShane. Fellow Lib Dem Fiona White, who regained her GBC seat here in 2019, is this time standing in Ash Wharf.


Shailja Lal – Residents for Guildford and Villages
Shivendra Lal – Residents for Guildford and Villages
Sandy Lowry – Liberal Democrats
Julia Maureen Mcshane – Liberal Democrats
Mike Parsons – Conservative Party
Syed Fozlul Houque Selim – Conservative Party
Howard Daniel Smith – Labour Party
Paul Michael Spooner – Conservative Party
James Harry Alfred Steel – Liberal Democrats

The corresponding 2019 results but ward boundaries may have changed.

Worplesdon (three seats)

R4GV scored a hat-trick here in 2019, perhaps largely thanks to a personal following of Bob McShee, a former Conservative who appears to be the only candidate with councillor experience other than Phil Brooker who previously represented Merrow and is now standing here together with his wife.

The Conservatives were beaten into second place last time and probably need to win something here if they are to make a serious recovery. None of their 2019 candidates are standing this time.

And in 2019, only one Lib Dem stood, this time there are three candidates which could split the non-Tory vote, or perhaps draw some Tory votes. Will probably be close.


Brigitte Valerie Ahier – Residents for Guildford and Villages
Bill Akhtar – Conservative Party
Janet Ashton – Independent Withdrawn
Honor Jean Brooker – Conservative Party
Philip Naylor Brooker – Conservative Party
Jon Edwards – Liberal Democrats
John Paul Damien Hawthorne – Labour Party
Bob Mcshee – Residents for Guildford and Villages
Marilyn Merryweather – Liberal Democrats
Robert Frederick Pidgeon – Residents for Guildford and Villages
Nick Trier – Labour Party
Sinclair Aubrey Webster – Liberal Democrats

See other articles in this series here

Share This Post

Responses to The Borough Council Election – Ward by Ward Analysis Part 4 – Stoughton to Worplesdon

  1. Anne Rouse Reply

    April 19, 2023 at 8:41 am

    Stoughton analysis states splitting of the Stoke ward. Needs correcting.

    Editor’s response. Thank you now corrected

  2. Anne Rouse Reply

    April 19, 2023 at 3:07 pm

    It is a shame that you have not reflected on the differences created by splitting Stoughton into north and south. As a candidate at the last election, the vote for Labour was poor in Queen Elizabeth Park but was much better at the other polling stations.

    I think Stoughton South will be a different challenge for all parties this time, including the fact that John Morris is standing. My main concern is with the challenges of voter ID and general voter disappointment locally the turn out will be small.

    But we shall see.

    Anne Rouse is a Labour candidate for Stoughton South in the forthcoming GBC election.

  3. Bilal Akhtar Reply

    April 19, 2023 at 3:43 pm

    According to the statement of persons nominated the Independent candidate Janet Ashton in Worplesdon is withdrawn.

    Editor’s response. Amended. Thank you.

  4. Susan Fox Reply

    April 21, 2023 at 3:01 pm

    Anne Rouse is an optimist. I think the turnout will be low because of the senseless boundary changes and the decision to demand photo identity, which is completely unnecessary and designed to reduce turnout. England is not “yet” a banana republic requiring this when everyone who has registered to vote receives a polling card.

    When the Lib Dems first represented Stoughton we had canvassed every door and issued bi-monthly Focus leaflets on matters which addressed ward issues – incidentally not glossy leaflets churned out full of national issues.

    John Morris has regularly stood as a candidate. Years ago I was his agent. Good for him he is a man of principle.

    The boundary changes ignore the principle of cohesive communities – there are clear physical boundaries such as Stoughton Road, if Stoughton had to be split.

    What we need is the Single Transferable Vote system as exists in other parts of the UK.

Leave a Comment

Please see our comments policy. All comments are moderated and may take time to appear.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *