Leading Eurosceptic Deselected as Chiswick Ward Councillor

Major changes as other long-serving Conservatives planning to stand down


Sign up for our weekly Chiswick newsletter

Comment on this story on the

The line up of Chiswick's nine councillors is likely to look very different after next year's local elections. Already one long-standing councillor has been deselected and five of the nine Conservative councillors are not putting their names forward to stand.

Robert Oulds, who is a director of the eurosceptic think-tank The Bruges Group was deselected in the Homefields ward in favour of newcomer Patrick Barr after a vote of local party members. He has said he will put his name forward to stand for election in Turnham Green, where the three current councillors, Adrian Lee, Samantha Davies, and Peter Thompson, will not be running again.

Councillor Sam Hearn discussed this with The Chiswick Calendar.

Other familiar faces who will not be going forward are Paul Lynch and Felicity Barwood.

The deselection of Cllr Oulds could herald the start of a shake-up in local politics, not only because of the arrival of new Conservative faces, but because of the possibility that Labour may seek to capitalise on the general election swing, to target the three wards in Chiswick. One local political source said the shock figures from the election, in which a large proportion of Chiswick voters ditched traditional voting loyalties in favour of Labour, could translate to a similar pattern at local level.

One political source commented, "If, as is usually the pattern, that translates into local elections, then we could see a mix of political beliefs represented at the Chiswick Area Forum for a change. It might make things more lively. However, the way things are going we could see another general election before that, many people believe there will be one within six months."

The Chancellor Philip Hammond visited Chiswick last week to appear at a party fundraiser which was also attended by former MP Mary Macleod.

Local councillors still intending to put their names forward for election again are John Todd, Sam Hearn and Gerald McGregor.

Cllr Oulds was reluctant to comment on any suggestion that his deselection in a ward that largely voted Remain, was due to his Brexit views. He has represented the ward for fifteen years, but lives in Brentford. A source said the decision was likely to be the result of a combination of factors.

Mr. Oulds told Chiswickw4.com that several people had asked him to stand in Turnham Green where very experienced councillors had decided not to stand for various work or personal reasons. He said it was premature to talk about the selection process when it was still not concluded.

Sam Hearn, leader of the Conservatives in Hounslow Council said that Homefields ward had now concluded its selection of candidates - they were Patrick Barr, John Todd and Gerald McGregor. The general election had put the timings out for selection and they were trying to fit things in before the summer holidays. Sam Hearn described him as "bright, intelligent and well liked. A breath of fresh air."

patrick barr who is running for election as a councillor in chiswick

Patrick Barr (above) joined the Conservative party in 2011, whilst living in Esmond road, Chiswick. He stood as the local Conservative council candidate in Southfield Ward for Ealing Borough in 2014. In 2015, having moved to Brentford, Patrick joined Mary Macleod's campaign team as her Digital Manager and campaigned for her in the 2015 General Election. He also stood as a council candidate in the Brentford by-election and gained a 2.6% swing for the Conservatives but was not elected.

He has campaigned on local issues on including getting the Piccadilly line to stop at Turnham Green, to keep shops independent on Turnham Green Terrace, to have roads resurfaced, streets kept clean and council tax frozen. He has been an A&E Charge Nurse at Charing Cross hospital and is now a Disability Analyst for the Department of Work and Pensions. Patrick recently married a teacher who works at a local Independent school. They met through their love of theatre, having both trained as actors.

Turnham Green selectors are due to meet on 31 July and Riverside ward is postponing the matter until September because of summer holidays.

Local Conservative councillors, a tiny majority in a Labour dominated local administration, have found themselves blocked of any real power at borough level. They are frequently voted down on issues of importance to Chiswick.

Cllr Sam Hearn said in terms of work for councillors, there were a lot of interesting areas to be addressed - the matter of a third runway at Heathrow airport remained a big issue, and his party would like to see a referendum in the borough. Waste and recycling were also important issues in Chiswick and he says the Council had been shambolic in its approach over the last seven years.

July 21, 2017

Bookmark and Share