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An ‘administrative error’ has left Shalford voters without a Conservative candidate in the forthcoming Surrey County Council election. The Shalford division is regarded as a safe Tory seat. Andrew Barrand, the election agent responsible, has resigned.
The deadline for nominations is understood to have been 12 noon last Thursday (April 4th).
Simon Gimson, the incumbent Conservative county councillor for the division, who lives in Wanborough, was expected to stand and was willing to do so. He has a good attendance record at County Hall in Kingston upon Thames, having attended eight of the nine meetings he was expected to and has been seen regularly at the Guildford Local Committee contributing to debates.
In the previous county council election for this division, a by-election in 2011, he received 3,602 votes, a majority of 2515 over the second placed Liberal Democrat. The Labour candidate received 701 votes.
Mr Gimson said today (Saturday, April 6): “I am sorry that due to an administrative error I will not be a candidate in the election on the 2nd of May.
“It has been a privilege to represent the Shalford division of Surrey County Council for the last two years. I have worked with local organisations and in particular the eight parish councils who all demonstrate the benefit of localism and deliver fantastic results for their communities.
‘I am proud of the achievements of local groups which I have supported with funds from my allocation. I will continue to support residents and provide advice if asked.”
Alan Young, the newly elected chairman of the Guildford Conservative Association, and himself a county councillor for Cranleigh & Ewhurst, said: “There is no Conservative candidate standing in Shalford owing to an administrative error by the Conservative agent for the county council elections. The agent has tendered his resignation, which has been accepted.”
David Goodwin, the leader of the Liberal Democrat group at Millmead, and county councillor for Guildford South West, said: “I too was also somewhat surprised as, having been at County Hall with Simon Gimson, I saw that he was quite a conscientious councillor since he took over from Tony Rooth two years ago.
“However, we all know the rules and the timetables which are set to which we all have to adhere. His agent should’ve known better! I for one am sorry to see him [Simon Gimson] go.”
Angela Gunning the Labour group leader said: “Tough for the incumbent. He must be feeling bad about it all. However, all agents and candidates are given the timetable for the submission of nomination papers when they are issued. Can’t speculate about the outcome in Shalford however.”
Gareth Evans, the chairman of the Guildford branch of UKIP said: “I found the news extraordinary. In fact, I was shocked. People might not appreciate that UKIP is the only party with candidates in each of the 81 county council divisions in Surrey.
“How well we now do in Shalford is up to the voters but it obviously gives us a greater chance.
“We have done very well in many recent elections, across the country, and I feel that there is something going on. Voters seem to be saying,’Enough is enough!’.
“We think that some of the local government finances are out of control, especially in Surrey where the chief executive is paid over £250,ooo and another 30 senior managers earn over £100,000.
“We want to get the finances of the county council under control and provide a good quality of service.”
There are three candidates standing in the Shalford division in the county council election to be held on May 2:
The Labour Party
The division of Shalford is quite extensive geographically, running westwards along the south side of the Hog’s Back all the way to the Hampshire border. It is numbered 21 in the map below.