The council said that a number of the signatures calling for a referendum had been disregarded
BY JAMES WATKINS
Monika Juneja started the petition
A petition set up by former borough councillor Monika Juneja asking for a referendum to change the way Guildford Borough Council (GBC) is run has been rejected.
Ms Juneja, who was given a 14-month suspended prison sentence for forgery on Monday (June 15), launched the petition asking for a referendum on whether “the council should be run in a different way by a mayor who is elected by voters for the area which the council serves”.
The local authority received the petition earlier this month, which was claimed to have collected 5,116 signatures, more than the 5,012 required for a referendum to be held in Guildford.
However, GBC announced on Wednesday that a number of the signatures were invalid, and in fact only 3,570 had been gained.
“A number of signatures were disregarded as they did not meet certain criteria, this can include those that failed to complete all the details needed, such as first name, surname and address details or where a signature was unreadable,” a spokesman for the council said.
“The petition organisers will have the opportunity to collect and submit further signatures in a new petition.
“Any such new petition can be amalgamated with the original one and the petition process restarted – valid names on the original petition will remain so for 12 months from the date of signing.”
As opposed to the current mayor of Guildford which is a ceremonial position, an elected mayor would have decision-making powers.
It was claimed that if the petition was held to be valid, and a referendum was held but voted against, that the current leadership system could not be changed for 10 years.
Ms Juneja was sentenced this week after previously pleaded guilty to three counts of forgery, one of obtaining a pecuniary advantage by deception and one of pretending to be a barrister.
She was also ordered to carry out 200 hours of community service.