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Monday, 15 June 2020 09:22

Departure of 6 Councillors ends 45 years of Conservative Majority Rule in Spelthorne

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Six of Spelthorne Council’s most senior Councillors have quit the Conservative Party today, following their AGM last night [This press release embargoed until 9th June]. This means that for the first time in Spelthorne’s history, the Conservatives no longer have majority control of Spelthorne Council. The Conservative Group now have only 17 councillors and the other Groups collectively 22 councillors.

Council Leader Ian Harvey, Deputy Leader Olivia Rybinski, Cabinet members Jo Sexton, Amar Brar and Helen Harvey, along with long serving Cllr Richard Smith-Ainsley have been instrumental in delivering financial security for the borough. ‘’It is with regret that we had to leave the Conservative Group. Increasingly over the past 6 months we have witnessed and endured torrid levels of bullying, misogyny, hounding and intimidation which has escalated during the lockdown. This has made our continuing membership untenable. Efforts to seek assistance from the Party, at all levels, including CCHQ, to resolve this, have fallen on deaf ears’’ said Cllr Rybinski.

"This faction clearly believe that whilst the Council is still at Amber Standing; it is a good time to cause massive disruption and distraction within the Council Executive by seeking a change in the Leadership Team, furthermore What is most upsetting is that this divisive faction within the conservatives have put party politics and their own personal ambitions over and above the best interests of Spelthorne Residents’’ said Cllr Sexton.

Leader of the Council for the past 4 1⁄2 years Cllr Ian Harvey said: ‘’When I took over as Leader of the Council in 2016, the Borough was facing a severe financial crisis due to swingeing cuts to government and Surrey County Council grants, compounded by historic poor financial decisions. Our renowned investment strategies have re-invigorated Spelthorne finances to the extent that we have now embarked on our ambitious second stage of regeneration and have commenced a building program which will deliver over 1200 homes within 5 years. We have delivered a balanced budget
with increases below inflation for the last 4 years; the lowest Council Tax increases in Surrey this year. I am proud of what has been achieved under my leadership. Our new group, to be known as United Spelthorne Group, will continue to put the needs of Spelthorne residents first".

3 comments

  • Comment Link Elleke Thursday, 16 July 2020 09:31 posted by Elleke

    Re comment of the 11th of July.......as part of Senior Management in a London Borough where I worked for many many years the Councillors were heavily involved with the work force. Indeed, many were ‘hands on’ with supporting Management ensuring that their particular interests in their portfolios were implemented in a manageable/ effective manner. Their interest in the wellbeing of the workforce was very visible and played a huge positive part in the morale of the workforce.

  • Comment Link Dave Saturday, 11 July 2020 20:37 posted by Dave

    The councillors don't employ people. The leader in practice has no tangible involvement with them, merely is the sign-off and second-opinion for the CEO's decisions as regards all employees, all of those decisions, who sits in the office day-to-day. Don't burn the baby with the bath water, E. Bad publicity breeds off itself & creates a maelstrom for such councillor fall outs. Seem to recall a similar thing regarding the Surrey incinerator.

  • Comment Link Elleke Tuesday, 16 June 2020 13:45 posted by Elleke

    You couldn’t make it up...... just when we need strong and stable leadership from ALL parities given the current troubling times we are experiencing, we are informed of ‘infighting’ amongst our councillors........I not only consider the alleged behavior as described in the above article, extremely worrying and unacceptable leaving me with absolutely no confidence but also.......what negative impact might this have on the work force of the council? If this alleged behavior remains unresolved what chance might an individual employee have should they have similar experiences?

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