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In the Council

Council IT 'just not acceptable' says Jamie Chowdhary
Have you got a problem with a service in our Ward? Please tell us ...

Alok Sharma's Website
Reading's only useful MP!




Peppard Ward's Senior  Councillor Resigns
from the Conservatives and becomes an Independent

Cllr Mark Ralph
See also:
Getreading Post
Reading Chronicle
“...it is my view that the primary objective of politicians, should be service to the community they have been elected to represent. The building of personal power-bases and squabbling within groups is destructive,
time-consuming and detracts from this. It is our residents that suffer”

Reading, 10th April 2012:  After 8 years as a stalwart of Reading’s group of Conservative Councillors, Cllr Mark Ralph has resigned from the Party and will support his friend and Peppard Ward colleague, Jamie Chowdhary, in his bid to seek re-election as an Independent Councillor.

Cllr Ralph was highly critical of Reading East Conservative Association and Reading East MP, Rob Wilson over the deselection of Cllr Chowdhary as the Conservative candidate for Peppard Ward in the 2012 elections.

As a result, there were attempts to terminate Cllr Ralph’s membership of the Reading East Association, which were thwarted only by the intervention of a special Panel instigated by joint Party Chairmen Baroness Warsi and Lord Feldman and held last December at Conservative Party Headquarters. This was to review the many complaints received about the Association, following the deselection of Cllr Jamie Chowdhary.

Cllr Ralph said: “No political group is free of rivalries and leadership bids but, it is my view that the primary objective of politicians, should be service to the community they have been elected to represent. The building of personal power-bases and squabbling within groups is destructive, time-consuming and detracts from this. It is our residents that suffer.”

While the Panel advised against termination of Cllr Ralph’s membership, it is understood that it failed to support the reinstatement of Cllr Chowdhary or criticise the process of his deselection.

Cllr Ralph confirmed his disappointment at the Panel’s lack of support for Cllr Chowdhary, adding: “It’s not just the rank injustice to Jamie, a hardworking and respected Councillor, it is also the blatant attempt to then undermine his application to be a candidate in Reading West and sustained campaign, since the Panel’s report, to make false allegations, jeopardising his public reputation and position as a respected member of the Thames Valley Police Authority. “

“To undertake such a vicious campaign when Jamie was unwell was contemptible and Reading East Conservative Association is not an organisation to which I wish to belong.”

In stark contrast, Cllr Ralph expressed ‘sincere regret’ at having to resign from Reading West Conservative Association of which he is also a member, thanking them for giving him membership, which protected his status as a Conservative Councillor while those in Reading East were seeking to remove him, and giving him time to consider the future.

He said: “I have great respect for Alok Sharma MP and the administration of RWCA. The Association is not run as his personal fiefdom and the management comprises a good cross-section of members. If I lived in Reading West, Mr Sharma would get my vote every time. I remain a strong supporter of Conservatism. ”

Having recently resigned as Conservative Group Spokesman in Reading on ‘Education & Children’s Services’ when asked to distance himself from Cllr Chowdhary and remove his presence from the website, PeppardWard.com, owned by Mr Chowdhary, Cllr Ralph now has to cut all ties with the Conservative Party if he is to support Mr Chowdhary in campaigning as an Independent candidate in Peppard Ward.

He said: “I do so with some sadness but I look forward to devoting more time to my residents. I fully expect some vindictive sniping and smear tactics but I ask now that people dismiss it for what it is, while I get on with the job of serving the people of Peppard Ward for as long as they care to elect me.”

“As well as addressing my residents’ day to day issues, I shall continue to pursue my particular interests in Education, Children’s Services, Services for the Elderly, Community Care and Neighbourhood Policing.”

For those of you that are unaware of the situation, you may be interested
in pursuing the following link: 

Reading Post:
Reading Tories dump Councillor Jamie Chowdhary
The dirty business of politics

Reading East Tories vote to axe another councillor
Andrew Cumpsty steps down as Conservative leader
East Reading Tory spared the axe

Reading Chronicle:
Councillor axed in Tory power struggle

Tory in-fighting threatens Ralph
'Blogger off', gossip is ordered
Nominations secrecy for Tory leader vote
Move to axe popular councillor is put on hold
Reading Tory leader quits
Tory squabble continues as opposition leader quits

Gareth Epps Blog: Tory trouble as peasants revolt

Kirsten Bayes Blog: Honourable Gentleman

Reading Muckspreading:
Peppard Stake
Dirty Underwear
You've Got Male


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