30 May 2014

Kingston Tories in palace coup

In a political coup worthy of Ken Livingstone's ousting of Andrew MacIntosh 24 hours after Labour taking control of the GLC in 1981, Kingston Tories have dumped their election winning leader just seven days after taking contol.

And in a move that will delight local Liberal Democrats, the Tories choice to lead the council is Kevin Davis.  Hapless Davis is well known to Lib Dems beyond the Royal Borough's boundaries - pledging (and failing) to oust David Laws in Yeovil in 2010 - just as he had done to Edward Davey five years earlier.  As a result of his lacklustre campaign in Kingston and Surbiton he was unceremoniously dumped by the voters of Berrylands Ward (scene of the 'Good Life') in 2006.

He is however not new to the leadership of Kingston Council, having been an executive member in the 1998-2002 Tory administration and Leader between 2001-2002 before losing the following election heavily.

As leader, the competence of his administration was in stark contrast to his overblown rhetoric:

He pledged to cut council tax, but under his watch it soared by 50%.  Davis was the first leader of Kingston Council to levy a tax of more than £1,000 a year.

In opposition he attacked the Lib Dems for increasing council staff numbers, failing to realise that under his leadership of the council a record 238 new staff were recruited in 2001/2. (The year the Council Tax hit £1,000).

He also made a fool of himself over several controversial schemes in Berrylands ward -where he attacked the Liberal Democrats for implementing them, when they happened under his watch.

And in a tear jerking post on his blog in 2007 - after losing out in the Tory parliamentary nomination for Kingston and Surbiton he said, "clearly my future no longer lies in Kingston".

But now in a puff piece in the local Kingston Guardian newspaper he is described as a 'PR guru', when in fact he runs a consultancy who seeks planning permission for property speculators.  This includes working for the developers of the controversial Surbiton Filter Beds scheme - which was finally defeated by residents (with the support of Ed Davey and the Lib Dems) after years of campaigning.

It promises to be an interesting few years under his leadership.

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