TWO Basingstoke and Deane Borough councillors quit the Conservative group in support of former mayor Councillor Onnallee Cubitt who was expelled from the group earlier this month.

Cllr Sven Godesen and Cllr Kate Tuck, who represent Basing and Upton Grey ward along with Cllr Cubitt, decided to withdraw from the group, saying they have “a responsibility to support Onnalee”.

In a letter titled ‘Since when was it an offence to tell the truth’, the two councillors said nobody was permitted to speak in defence of Cllr Cubitt in a meeting held on December 1.

Cllr Cubitt was expelled for comments that she made during a full council meeting on October 20, as well as for remarks she expressed during an interview with The Guardian reporter John Harris.

READ MORE: Former mayor Onnalee Cubitt expelled from Conservative group

Here is the full text of the letter written by Cllr Godesen and Cllr Tuck:


Ten days ago the Conservative administration scheduled a group meeting to consider complaints made against Councillor Onnalee Cubitt.  

The event turned out to be in the nature of a kangaroo court with the decision already predetermined.  

Nobody was permitted to speak in her defence and the sanctions demanded of her were cruel and could not possibly be accepted resulting in a recommendation to withdraw the whip. 

We are fortunate to live in a country which values the concept of “freedom of speech” and where it is not considered an offence to speak the truth. 

The three of us have worked hard over many years to represent our residents and to ensure their concerns are dealt with. 

We wish to continue to do so. 

We were elected by Conservatives to be Conservatives but now find ourselves at loggerheads with our own group. 

The two of us feel that we have a responsibility to support Onnalee and are therefore withdrawing from the group and will be voting independently of the group.

This is a sad state of affairs.

- Councillor Sven Godesen & Councillor Kate Tuck

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The two councillors, however, maintained that they have not joined any other parties and would still back the Conservatives if there is a no-confidence motion.

The Conservative group, which initially had 29 councillors before Cllr Cubitt’s expulsion, would lose the majority in the 54-member council if Cllr Godesen and Cllr Tuck join the opposition parties.

Reacting to the decision by two councillors, Conservative and council leader Simon Bound said: "At a recent meeting Cllr Cubitt was asked by the group to make an apology regarding her recent comments.  She refused this request and is now no longer a member of the Conservative group at Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council."

"Whilst I understand the support Cllr Godesen and Cllr Tuck want to offer their ward colleague, the comments remain regrettable and do the town and the council a significant disservice."