Friday, February 3, 2023

Tory leadership battle commences as Garry Hague steps down

THE BATTLE LINES are being drawn among the Thurrock Conservatives as they prepare to vote for a new leader as the present leader, Garry Hague is set to quit.

The election will take place on Wednesday evening at the AGM of the Thurrock Tories. There are six other places up for grabs including deputy leader, chief whip and secretary.

Chafford Hundred councillor Garry Hague has always been a somewhat reluctant leader, thrust into the position after the defection of Terry Hipsey to Labour.

After a difficult period as the leader when the council found themselves placed in the bottom three in the country, as well as challenging budgetary pressures, he developed a strong top tier cabinet around him who started to get going but the internal strife in the party overshadowed that with votes of no confidence and more defections.

Labour took over last May. Since then, Garry has cut a peripheral figure. His recent bout of poor health may have informed his decision however he looked relaxed and well at Fridays count standing by his assertion that the Labour administration is “in office but not in power”.

Cllr Hague confirmed to YT this morning that he will not be seeking re-election.

He said: “I will not be putting my name forward for Leader of the Conservative Group for the coming year.  It has been a tremendous honour to the lead the Conservative Group for the past two years and I thank all of my team, and the Thurrock Council officer team, for all of their support.   Leading the Group is a serious commitment and responsibility and there are a number of other things that I want to do outside of the Council in the coming year which would not allow me to do full justice to the leadership position.  However, I do intend to play a full and active part in the Conservative Group, in Thurrock Council, and in the Conservative Party as we  move forward.

“I am proud of what I and the Group achieved over the past two years.  The improvement programme we led when the Conservatives were in administration put in place the foundations for the much improved performance of Thurrock Council that we have today.  We put in place the recruitment process for the senior officer team that has made a step change in the quality of executive leadership of the Council, and we oversaw significant efficiencies and service improvements that have seen Thurrock Council’s performance and reputation markedly improve.  The Alternative Budget we forced through Council in opposition earlier this year protected  vital services valued by residents and supported the reduction in Council Tax that residents are now benefiting from.

“We have a very strong and talented Conservative team on Thurrock Council and that has been added to after the elections with the latest intake of new councillors who will bring new energy, enthusiasm and experience to the Conservative Team.

“I thank all of those who have supported me as Leader over the past two years, and I look forward to working proactively with the new Leader, and with all of the Conservative Team, in a new capacity.”

Pundits see the contest between Little Thurrock Rectory councillor Rob Gledhill and Stanford East councillor Phil Anderson with the voting expected to follow geographical lines with cllr Anderson commanding the “Revell bloc” on the east of the borough while cllr Geldhill may command the votes of those from the west side.


  1. So Gary Hague has finally done the right thing and stood down as leader of Thurrock Tories. I disagree with the editor that Hague was a reluctant leader, if he was he would have stood aside when the vote of no confidence didnt go his way but he didnt and this action has led the party to the mess that they are in today and very nearly left Thurrock Council bankrupt.

    Now you have the party split straight down the middle with Anderson in one corner and the established Gledhill in the other. Anderson will have the backing of the Revellls and the young guns of the East and Gledhill with the backing of Amanda Arnold and the old school in the west.

    Gledhill will want to put his stamp of authority on the party he has worked solidly for years to get to this moment, and Anderson will want to be rewarded for all the work he has put in over the last year. Either way the division will still be there but more so if Anderson sneaks in after just one year in the chamber.

    Amanda Arnold must be smarting about this in less than a week she has lost Barry Johnson as ward councillor and now if Anderson takes the leadership she will not be his choice as deputy.

  2. I honestly cannot tell you how delighted I am that Otto von Bismarck has decided to relinquish his throne, as well as the fact that this is turning out to be a straight fight between Gracchus Babeuf and Louis Antoine de Saint-Just.

    This is not as much an issue about who the Tory party might pick but how Red Ken(t) will tackle Thurrock Conservative’s new lead-singer, both options could spell trouble for a Labour administration should they inspire the troops in and out of the chamber.

    To be brutally honest, I’m surprised Colonel Garry-dafi hasnt climbed atop the metaphorical horse of strong leadership and marched into Stanford West (Ras Lanuf) , Corringham & Fobbing (Benghazi) and Little Thurrock (Misrata) demanding they swear allegiance to the eternal emperor. Lately he has been about as relevant Stuart St.Clair-Bedlam, and that says a lot.

    When you look at Gaddafi’s compound, its always the same people waving pro-Gaddafi banners. It was the same with Garry. He had Barry Johnson, Rob Gledhill and Joy Redsell.

    Barry lost, Rob jumped off the ship. It was starting to look like Driving Miss Daisy.

    There isn’t much to say to criticise the leadership contestants. One sometimes gets the impression that Rob “or nearest offer” Gledhill would like to sell off the entire Borough to a sheikh, but you have to give the man a bit more credit, he chose the right time to sell off Garry Hague.

    John Kent must have nightmares about Phil Anderson, and if he doesn’t he should be.

  3. Proud of the improvement programme? You were part of the Cabinet that ran the council into the ground causing the Government to send in the Improvement Board to sort out the mess you as a Cnservative was collectively responsible for.

    Your rudderless leadership was so inept you lost councillors left right and centre. You were so spineless that you sat on the Collinsn Report for six months instead of removing Stuart St Clair Haslam as Chairman of Planning because you needed him and his vote to keep you in power.

    Your alternative budget was a joke as the Tories voted for 99.6% of the Labour budget.

  4. Looking forward to seeing the results of this leadership fight now that Sue McPherson has put her hat in the ring.

    Have put my post on the stalking horse article. You couldn’t make this stuff up…….

  5. No Pete you got it wrong on Mr Haslam and omitted to mention that Garry Hague and his henchman in my view including Bob Coomber sought to cook up the collison report to ensure that officers of thurrock council got their way over democratically elected members of the


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here


More articles