Liberal Democrats on Surrey County Council have called for the Leader of the Council, Councillor David Hodge, to resign or face a motion of "No Confidence" following the release of emails last night which revealed he had written to the Prime Minister asking for more cash "so that Surrey will continue to be a heartland for the Conservatives". In another email he bemoaned the fact that the Conservative Government "ties my hands and fails to support...(the)...largest Conservative group in the UK".
Cllr Hazel Watson, Leader of the Liberal Democrats on Surrey County Council said today:
"I am calling on Cllr David Hodge to resign as Leader of the Council immediately or face a motion of no confidence at the Council meeting of 21st March 2017. This is not a decision I take lightly but we cannot go on like this, with a Leader of the Council whose credibility is being undermined every day by new revelations, leaked emails, text messages and secret recordings. This has become a hugely time-consuming distraction for the County Council from what it should be concentrating on, which is to serve the residents of Surrey.
"I am very clear that Surrey County Council needs a fairer funding deal with central government to fund the gap in adult social care. However, the Leader of the Council has approached this in totally the wrong way with the use of secrecy, calling in favours, "gentleman's agreements" and an unwillingness to share vital information with elected councillors and residents. I think this approach has failed and has damaged Surrey's case for getting a better deal from government.
"The judgement of the Leader of the Council came into question when he and his Cabinet colleagues unanimously voted for a 15% council tax rise and a referendum to take place on 4th May, only to back down a week later at the Council's Budget meeting, following opposition led by the Liberal Democrats and a huge outcry from Surrey residents.
"I believe that the Leader of the Council should go now because we need an end to the revelations, speculations and leaks so that the County Council can focus on providing services for residents. This situation has caused embarrassment for the County Council and I am very clear that we cannot go on like this. We need a fresh start with a new Leader of the Council who will approach the running of the council in an open and transparent way, focussing on serving Surrey residents."