Monday, 15 August 2022

We've been here before

HISTORY repeated itself at Monday’s ceremony. In May 1991, Henley Residents’ Group blocked Conservative Margaret Day from becoming mayor.

At that time the council was split with eight members of HRG, six Conservatives and two Liberal Democrats. The Lib-Dems abstained, allowing Ken Arlett, of HRG, to become Mayor.

Mrs Day had been nominated as mayor-elect by the Tory-controlled council but the party lost control in elections the week before mayor-making. Tory David Nimmo Smith was ousted as deputy mayor and replaced by HRG’s Janine Voss.

At the time, he accused HRG of having a “naked lust for power”.

This week, he said: “They showed themselves, at that time, to be very focused on getting control and to all intents and purposes they have shown that again, very focused. That’s not the Conservative way of doing things. On the other hand we have all got our ruthless streak. There’s no point standing for election and being a backbencher. You want to be in control because that’s the only way you get things done.”

HRG Gill Dodds said the Tories should not have named a mayor-elect just before a double by-election, adding: “They should have learned that lesson.”

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