45% of Surrey Conservatives are stepping down
Following publication of the list of candidates for this year's Surrey County Council elections, it has emerged that 25 out of 56 Conservative county councillors are stepping down - a dropout rate of 45%.
The decision of so many Tory county councillors to leave office comes less than a year after the County Council was heavily criticised for wasting £250,000 on a failed bid to become a unitary authority by abolishing Surrey's borough and district councils. The County Council is widely regarded as an out-of-touch authority, which cannot get the basic services like repairing local roads and pavements right.
Chris Botten, Lib Dem Group Leader on Surrey County Council, said:
"I am shocked to see that so many Conservative councillors are retiring, including some very senior cabinet or former cabinet members. There is no doubt that being a county councillor is an onerous responsibility, but the Tory-run council has alienated colleagues in borough and district councils with its unitary bid. This has clearly had an impact and encouraged many Conservative councillors to rush for the exit door."
"The Council is clearly in a mess; that is why so many councillors are leaving. How can local people expect to have confidence in the Conservatives running Surrey County Council, if those running it do not?"