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Guildford Council leadership to rotate between two largest parties

3 minute read
Guildford Council leadership to rotate between two largest parties

Published by the Eagle Radio News Team at 2:07pm 7th May 2020. (Updated at 5:45pm 10th May 2020)

Guildford Borough Council is to change its leadership from September, with an agreement to rotate between the two largest parties.

The new arrangement - involving the Liberal Democrats and Residents for Guildford and Villages (R4GV) - was announced at a meeting of the Full Council on Tuesday (5 May).

It will see Liberal Democrat councillor Caroline Reeves stepping down after leading the council's Executive since the local elections last May.

The R4GV leadership will run for two years, with the leadership reverting back to the Liberal Democrats for the period before the local elections in 2023.

Four member of the Lib Dems have stepped down from the Executive - which means it now comprises four councillors from Residents for Guildford and Villages and four from the Liberal Democrats.

They are: from R4GV: Cllr Joss Bigmore, Cllr John Rigg, Cllr John Redpath and Cllr Tim Anderson, and from the Lib Dems: Cllr Caroline Reeves, Cllr Jan Harwood, Cllr James Steel and Cllr Julia McShane. 

Caroline Reeves continues to lead the Council in the short-term during its emergency response to Coronavirus with Cllr Joss Bigmore as the Deputy Leader.

The two parties have an almost equal number of overall councillor seats - and according to a statement from the Council it also has "many shared priorities."

The Council statement says discussions on rotating the leadership had already started before the coronavirus crisis.

Caroline Reeves said the Lib Dems were "proud to join forces with R4GV" after a successful year:

"These unprecedented times mean we must make optimum use of our shared strengths to serve our borough in the very best way we can. 

"The work carried out by the previous Executive (2019-2020) has been extensive, if quietly achieved, and we will build on this. 

"I would like to thank those from the Liberal Democrats who are standing down; Cllr Fiona White, Cllr David Goodwin, Cllr Angela Goodwin and Cllr Pauline Searle." 

Deputy Leader Joss Bigmore of R4GV said he welcomed the move:

"This will be a challenging administration which is committed to making tangible improvements to Guildford over the next three years.

"Cllr Reeves has been outstanding in her leadership of the Council's response to the outbreak and if necessary, she will continue to do so after the leadership is reviewed."