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Stephen Mansbridge Survives – Tory Group Condemns His Crime

Published on: 16 May, 2013
Updated on: 17 May, 2013
Cllr Stephen Mansbridge: "I am deeply sorry for this dreadful lapse of judgement..."

Cllr Stephen Mansbridge

Cllr Stephen Mansbridge remains leader of Guildford Borough Council, following a meeting of the Conservative group yesterday evening (May 16).

The meeting to decide the leader’s fate was held in the wake of news of his conviction for drink-driving.

A statement from Conservative Group spokesman Cllr Matt Furniss reads: “The Conservative Group of Guildford Borough Council met on Thursday 16th May and had a full and frank discussion about whether Stephen Mansbridge should continue as leader of the Conservative Group. Stephen had made a clear statement last Friday to the Group to inform them of his situation and he subsequently made this public through the media.

“The Conservative Group does not condone Stephen’s actions and has always viewed drink driving as a serious offence. However, Stephen has acknowledged the impact of his conviction, accepted the sentence of the court without contest, and has publicly apologised to the people of Guildford.

“The Group condemns Cllr Mansbridge’s behaviour which has led to his prosecution, as drinking is a serious problem within the Borough.

“However, Stephen is providing real direction and drive as the Leader of the Council and is pushing forward with an ambitious agenda for the Borough. The Conservative Group will now continue to support him in pursuing that agenda to tackle the challenges ahead.”

Cllr Mansbridge said this morning (May 17): “I respect the decision of my group and I will go on to continue to drive forward a heavy agenda to improve our borough for all our residents.”

Party spokesperson Kelly-Marie Blundell issued the following statement on behalf of the Lib Dem Group: “The Guildford Borough Council Liberal Democrat Group expresses regret that the Conservative Group has chosen to support Cllr Mansbridge in continuing as Leader of the Council.

“It was clear from the public reaction that residents do not approve of Cllr Mansbridge remaining in post following his conviction for drink-driving on 30th April 2013. Although the conviction for drink-driving is a personal matter residents believe that the conviction means that he is no longer an appropriate person to lead the council.

“On Thursday the Liberal Democrat Group commented that it felt that the conviction could impact on his role of Leader of the Council in relation to his working relationship with Kevin Hurley, the Police and Crime Commissioner.

“It is also worth highlighting that other councillors across the country have resigned from their posts following similar convictions. For example, in August 2012 a Liberal Democrat Deputy Council Leader resigned from his executive role after being convicted of a drink-driving offence.

“In relation to Cllr Mansbridge remaining as councillor for Ash and Tongham, Cllr David Goodwin, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, made it clear in a radio interview yesterday (Thursday) that Cllr Mansbridge should be expected to personally pay for any travel expenses that resulted from the driving ban as it is not the responsibility of the Guildford tax payer to pay for his taxis and train fares.”

Reactions to this story will follow as received. Please check back.

See also: Cllr Mansbridge: I Have No Intention To Claim Travel Expenses

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