Senior Tory says ditching of chairman-elect ‘grossly unfair’

Horsham District Councillor John Bailey
Horsham District Councillor John Bailey

Another senior Conservative Horsham district councillor today added his support to Christian Mitchell - branding it ‘grossly unfair’ that he was stripped of his chairman-elect role in a whipped vote last week.

Mr Mitchell said he had paid the price for articulating the concerns of his constituents about the North Horsham development plans.

Today (Tuesday March 4), John Bailey (Con, Rudgwick), deputy chairman of the Horsham Conservative Association, said: “The fact that Christian has been singled out for this treatment, or it appears he has, for doing his best for his ward, to be got at for trying to support the people who vote for him is grossly unfair seeing as there are a number of other councillors who have done the same to protect their wards.”

“It just seems drastic to do what they have done because he expressed the views of his public in his ward.”

Mr Bailey’s comments came after former council leader Liz Kitchen said it was ‘absolutely appalling’ that Mr Mitchell had been treated in this way.

The latest intervention came as it emerged that nearly a third of the Conservative group had backed Mr Mitchell in a private meeting where the matter was decided behind closed doors.

It is normal protocol that the vice chairman automatically becomes chairman in May - and the decision is being seen as opening up a widening split within the Conservative Party at HDC.

Exclusive reports in this Thursday’s County Times newspaper will look at all the background - along with the implications for the Conservative Party in Horsham.