Former leader in unforgiving mood as she takes to Twitter to reflect on defeat of Cambs council leader Nick Clarke

PUBLISHED: 23:36 03 May 2013 | UPDATED: 23:36 03 May 2013

Shona Johnstone

Shona Johnstone


SACKED last year by council leader Nick Clarke from a local government body by mobile phone, Shona Johnstone was in unforgiving mood today as the man who did it lost his seat.

SACKED last year by council leader Nick Clarke from a local government body by mobile phone, Shona Johnstone was in unforgiving mood today as the man who did it lost his seat.

Mrs Johnstone, a former leader herself and who has stood down after 20 years as a Cambridgeshire county councillor, allowed her thoughts on social media to express her true feelings.

“Lib Dem meltdown in Cambridgeshire?” she tweeted, quoting the title of a recent blog by defeated council leader Nick Clarke.

“Ironic in the circumstances now!”

Mrs Johnstone had been told last year by Cllr Clarke that she was no longer to be on the Local Government Association as a representative of Cambridgeshire County Council.

“The LGA must not be seen as a place for exiles if it is to be effective,” he told her.

Despite Cllr Johnstone having played a significant role within the umbrella body of local government – including vice chairmanship of the key economic and transport board- Cllr Clarke decided she must go.

Cllr Johnstone later tried to become the Tory party candidate for Cambs police commissioner.

She was on a short list of three but an allegation of criminal damage involving a cycle later led to her being convicted of careless cycling and her commissioner bid fell.

Mrs Johnstone later decided not to stand again in her Willingham division believing she had been effectively prevented from pursuing a political career.

But today she was ebullient mood as she took to social media- and the BBC- to offer opinions on the Tory Party fortunes at Shire Hall and those of Nick Clarke in particular.

She told the BBC she wasn’t convinced the fact that Cllr Clarke lived so far away from his division was entirely to blame for his defeat.

She said many motorists- including those she knew- didn’t like the idea of tolling on roads such as the A14, a policy proposed by Cllr Clarke.

Whether that was the reason she couldn’t be sure “but there could have been one or two people who changed their vote because of it” she told local radio.

“Clearly the group will select a leader, and we currently have a good deputy in Mac McGuire. There are also some excellent Conservatives and generally we have had a good day apart from Nick losing his seat.”

Lib Dem John Williams polled 1,180 votes in the Fulbourn ward previously held by Nick Clarke – picking up almost 45 per cent f the total votes. Cllr Clarke polled 848 votes and Labour’s June Ford took 434 votes while Green Party candidate David Smith polled 169.

Ironically Nick Clarke recently wrote about a possible Lib Dem ‘meltdown’ and told readers of his blog that if analysts are right at the next election “the Lib Dems could be wiped out.”

Meanwhile Mrs Johnstone tweeted from the sidelines in response to a BBC producer’s comment that Nick Clarke had put losing his seat at Fulbourn down to not living there anymore.

“He never lived there in the first place....” retorted Mrs Johnstone.

If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Ely Standard. Click the link in the yellow box below for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years, through good times and bad, serving as your advocate and trusted source of local information. Our industry is facing testing times, which is why I’m asking for your support. Every single contribution will help us continue to produce award-winning local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Thank you.

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Ely Standard