Lib Dems Rule Out Council Coalition With Conservatives 

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The Conservatives have also confirmed that they are not seeking any coalition

No coalitionCaroline Reeves, the leader of the Liberal Democrat group at Guildford Borough Council, has squashed rumours circulating of a possible Conservative/Lib Dem coalition, should the forthcoming election produce a “no overall control” result.

In a statement sent to The Guildford Dragon NEWS, Cllr Reeves (Lib Dem, Friary & St Nicolas) said: “We are fighting a strong campaign but at this stage there is a clear possibility that there will be no overall control of the council. We have refused to enter into discussions with any other party about future arrangements. This would be a matter for the newly elected group to decide should the situation arise.

Lib Dem group leader Cllr Caroline Reeves

Lib Dem group leader Cllr Caroline Reeves.

“Liberal Democrats voted against the publication of the Draft Local Plan but despite this the Conservatives took it forward. The new council will have a lot of work to do to ensure that the plan is fair to all the residents of Guildford.”

Strong feelings over the Local Plan and the possibility of building developments on green belt land have led to the emergence of the Guildford Greenbelt Group (GGG) and an extra degree of uncertainty over election results.

Stephen Mansbridge, council leader and leader of the Tories at GBC, and Cllr Reeves share a dislike of the GGG although individual councillors in both of their parties have espoused support for the group’s main aim of preventing any development on green belt land.

GGG is thought to have its strongest support in the wards in the east of the borough. If it is successful there it will be mostly at the expense of the Conservatives and, if GGG does well, it is possible the party could hold the balance of power.

The only non Conservative wards to the east of Guildford are Effingham and Lovelace (Ripley, Ockham and Wisley) where a shock by-election result last September showed the strength of popular feelings against proposals contained in the Draft Local Plan.

Cllr Matt Furniss (Con, Christchurch), speaking on behalf of the Tory group in response to the Lib Dem statement, said: “Guildford Conservatives are working to win another strong majority on Guildford Borough Council. We will continue to work to strongly represent Guildford’s residents with our county councillors and strongly hope to see Anne Milton re-elected as our MP.

“We have approached no other party nor have we been approached by any party. We are working hard to secure another strong Conservative majority which can continue the strong fiscal record we have built in Guildford.

“We will not be seeking a coalition with other parties but continue to work with everyone for the best interests of Guildford’s residents.”