Watford mayor, Dorothy Thornhill, 'hasn't made mind up' over 2015 bid for Parliament

Watford mayor Dorothy Thornhill

UKIP candidate Phil Cox

Conservative candidate Linda Topping

First published in News
Last updated
Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author by , Senior Reporter

Watford mayor admitted she "hasn’t made her mind up" about running for parliament next year - even if she is re-elected for a fourth term at town hall this week.

Dorothy Thornhill was pushed on the issue at a hustings debate last night, where she described her parliamentary ambitions as "probably Watford’s worst kept secret".

 

But yesterday the Liberal Democrat said she still could not give a definitive if she’ll stand for MP next year - three days before Watford residents head to the polls to potentially return her for her fourth term as mayor.

At the mayoral hustings, she said: "It’s very flattering to think that they actually think I’m going to win this election and the next one and therefore it’s going to cause all these problems.

"But at the moment I have not made up my mind, there are certain factors in my life - both personal and to do with my colleagues that make it not possible to say so."

The elected mayor said she was being "encouraged" by elements of her party to run for parliament and would make up her mind in her own time.

She continued: "So therefore, if there is anyone who feels I’d really like to vote for Dorothy but I’m not going to do so if she’s not going to be mayor for four years, then obviously they must exercise their own judgement on that regard.

"But as I say, I am immensely flattered that people think that is the case, but I will make up my own mind in my own time because there are personal things that I need to consider and certainly the ultimate decision is down to my party and members of my party in Watford."

Her comments came during a difficult 2014 Mayoral Hustings hosted by Christians Across Watford yesterday.

Meanwhile the other three mayoral candidates - Conservative Linda Topping, Labour’s Jagtar Singh Dhindsa and Phil Cox for UKIP -  all pledged to stand for the full four years.

During the debate Councillor Dhindsa said the fact the Liberal Democrats were pushing Mayor Thornhill to stand for Parliament as well as mayor reflected poorly on the party.

He added: "The other thing I think it doesn’t give a good image of the Liberal Democrats they’ve got 20 odd councillors - can’t they find another person to do the parliamentary?

"Why does the same person have to keep going for 12 years?

"Why - if she’s that good then even doing that - don’t put her up for a parliamentary seat.

"And Dorothy hasn’t been honest with the residents of Watford by saying whether she’ll do one or the other. Well I say the Lib Dems should have another person in there who can do that role. We’ve chosen ours and you’ve got me for four years."

Watford Observer:

Councillor Jagtar Singh Dhindsa.

Mr Cox revealed he wasn’t planning on running for a second term should he be elected as Watford's mayor.

He said: "I commit to standing for the full four years as mayor. I can’t get any simpler than that. I don’t think I’d want to do a second term, but I would stand for a full four years without any doubt whatsoever."

Conservative, Mrs Topping, added: "I considered it an absolute privilege to have been selected to stand for mayor. I would consider it an even bigger privilege if elected. If elected I would run for the full four years."

Comments (13)

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12:53pm Tue 20 May 14

The Rover says...

Bye bye Dorothy. If you cannot commit to a full term who will vote for you?
Bye bye Dorothy. If you cannot commit to a full term who will vote for you? The Rover
  • Score: 12

1:40pm Tue 20 May 14

Andy Wylie says...

She's right to say she can't say if she will be definitely be standing for Parliament. It's not up to her whether she will be the LD parliamentary candidate next year - it will be the local members choice when the contest kicks off, hopefully this summer.
Her candidature is by no means a shoe-in as some local members would prefer her to remain as Mayor, even if she did decide to compete. So we will see in due course but firstly, for us, there is the important job of getting her re-elected as Mayor.
The local LD party doesn't just go looking for parliamentary candidates amongst local councillors either, it's a nationally approved list which has a fairly high bar for approval and the competition to be the LD parliamentary candidate in Watford is run by the Region, not by the local members. So you always get a high calibre of applicant from outside the Borough - it's a proper competition.
She's right to say she can't say if she will be definitely be standing for Parliament. It's not up to her whether she will be the LD parliamentary candidate next year - it will be the local members choice when the contest kicks off, hopefully this summer. Her candidature is by no means a shoe-in as some local members would prefer her to remain as Mayor, even if she did decide to compete. So we will see in due course but firstly, for us, there is the important job of getting her re-elected as Mayor. The local LD party doesn't just go looking for parliamentary candidates amongst local councillors either, it's a nationally approved list which has a fairly high bar for approval and the competition to be the LD parliamentary candidate in Watford is run by the Region, not by the local members. So you always get a high calibre of applicant from outside the Borough - it's a proper competition. Andy Wylie
  • Score: -12

2:39pm Tue 20 May 14

garston tony says...

Andy Wylie, it may be the local party who decide who becomes the LD candidate but she IS the one who is going to decide wether she wants to be considered for that or not.

It may be a personal decision she has to make but (if she is re elected mayor) it has implications for the whole town and those who work, live and play in it. Thats several tens of thousands of people and by leaving the door open to quitting the role of Mayor in less than a years time she's basically saying (some would say finally admitting) that she thinks she is more important that the whole lot of us.

She is standing for an elected position that has a set term, she should not be standing for it unless she knows NOW that she has every intention of fulfilling that term.

I'm not a fan of hers so I wouldnt be voting for her anyway, but I really really fail to understand why anyone would consider voting for her when she is refusing to commit to the job she is asking the town to give her. By not commiting to the job she just isnt a viable candidate
Andy Wylie, it may be the local party who decide who becomes the LD candidate but she IS the one who is going to decide wether she wants to be considered for that or not. It may be a personal decision she has to make but (if she is re elected mayor) it has implications for the whole town and those who work, live and play in it. Thats several tens of thousands of people and by leaving the door open to quitting the role of Mayor in less than a years time she's basically saying (some would say finally admitting) that she thinks she is more important that the whole lot of us. She is standing for an elected position that has a set term, she should not be standing for it unless she knows NOW that she has every intention of fulfilling that term. I'm not a fan of hers so I wouldnt be voting for her anyway, but I really really fail to understand why anyone would consider voting for her when she is refusing to commit to the job she is asking the town to give her. By not commiting to the job she just isnt a viable candidate garston tony
  • Score: 20

2:49pm Tue 20 May 14

garston tony says...

Could the whole reason Dotty isnt willing to commit now be because as Wylie points out she isnt necessarily a shoe in for the LD Watford MP candidate?

She's hedging her bets, try and get re elected as mayor and if she doesnt get chosen as candidate she's still got a job (if she wins Thursday that is). But if she does get selected then bye bye Mayoral responsibilities.

I just cant get past what a totally idiotic strategy this is on her part. Why does she expect people to vote for her when she has admitted she may quit the job in less than a year? And should this scenario actually come into being why does she think people would vote for her to be local MP when she has just shafted the town and shown a total lack of commitment to it and to the people that elected her (potentially) mayor less than a year before?!

Its idiotic, and i'll come out and say it so are the people that still see her as a viable candidate now or in May 2015.
Could the whole reason Dotty isnt willing to commit now be because as Wylie points out she isnt necessarily a shoe in for the LD Watford MP candidate? She's hedging her bets, try and get re elected as mayor and if she doesnt get chosen as candidate she's still got a job (if she wins Thursday that is). But if she does get selected then bye bye Mayoral responsibilities. I just cant get past what a totally idiotic strategy this is on her part. Why does she expect people to vote for her when she has admitted she may quit the job in less than a year? And should this scenario actually come into being why does she think people would vote for her to be local MP when she has just shafted the town and shown a total lack of commitment to it and to the people that elected her (potentially) mayor less than a year before?! Its idiotic, and i'll come out and say it so are the people that still see her as a viable candidate now or in May 2015. garston tony
  • Score: 11

2:57pm Tue 20 May 14

MJ1 says...

The answer to the question is very simple. Dorothy is hedging her bets to see the outcome of the mayoral election to judge whether her level of popularity is sufficient to sweep her into parliament a year later. The Lib Dems national support is at an all time low so she will be looking to see if their local support is standing up. If her popularity has fallen since 2010 then she is likely to refuse her party's nomination. If it stands up she may be tempted to go for the parliamentary seat.
Either way this is unfair to the electorate. They are being asked to vote for her by the Lib Dems when she maybe into parliamenytary electioneering within a couple of months. If elected this week would she then resign as Mayor to stand for parliament? She might even try to continue doing two jobs for the next year - again hedging her bets unless the wave of anti-Clegg feeling overwhelms her in May 2015.
This behaviour is not untypical. In 2001 she campaigned AGAINST the office of Mayor saying it would be a waste on money. Then she stood for Mayor in 2002 promising to deliver a referendum on the abolition of the mayorality - another promise quickly forgotten as the mayoral pay rolled in.
This messing around with Watford's electorate - of not being straight with people - will eventually come back to haunt her - hopefully on Thursday of this week!
The answer to the question is very simple. Dorothy is hedging her bets to see the outcome of the mayoral election to judge whether her level of popularity is sufficient to sweep her into parliament a year later. The Lib Dems national support is at an all time low so she will be looking to see if their local support is standing up. If her popularity has fallen since 2010 then she is likely to refuse her party's nomination. If it stands up she may be tempted to go for the parliamentary seat. Either way this is unfair to the electorate. They are being asked to vote for her by the Lib Dems when she maybe into parliamenytary electioneering within a couple of months. If elected this week would she then resign as Mayor to stand for parliament? She might even try to continue doing two jobs for the next year - again hedging her bets unless the wave of anti-Clegg feeling overwhelms her in May 2015. This behaviour is not untypical. In 2001 she campaigned AGAINST the office of Mayor saying it would be a waste on money. Then she stood for Mayor in 2002 promising to deliver a referendum on the abolition of the mayorality - another promise quickly forgotten as the mayoral pay rolled in. This messing around with Watford's electorate - of not being straight with people - will eventually come back to haunt her - hopefully on Thursday of this week! MJ1
  • Score: 10

3:02pm Tue 20 May 14

garston tony says...

I would also point out that her position makes a mockery of any claims she has or will make about reducing costs. IF elected mayor (please will someone explain to my why anyone would vote for her now?!) and IF she quits to stand as a candidate MP then the town will have to fork out for another mayoral election next year. That isnt going to be free is it
I would also point out that her position makes a mockery of any claims she has or will make about reducing costs. IF elected mayor (please will someone explain to my why anyone would vote for her now?!) and IF she quits to stand as a candidate MP then the town will have to fork out for another mayoral election next year. That isnt going to be free is it garston tony
  • Score: 11

3:53pm Tue 20 May 14

phil mitchel says...

If you believe she doesn't know then you'll believe anything, she's fully aware of what her plans are she's just trying to pull the wool over what she thinks is the stupid electorate of Watford. I'm still waiting for someone to explain to me why I should vote for someone who won't make the commitment to serve a full term.
If you believe she doesn't know then you'll believe anything, she's fully aware of what her plans are she's just trying to pull the wool over what she thinks is the stupid electorate of Watford. I'm still waiting for someone to explain to me why I should vote for someone who won't make the commitment to serve a full term. phil mitchel
  • Score: 7

8:03pm Tue 20 May 14

croxley46 says...

Like Thatcher and Blair she's been in the job too long (already 12 years I believe) - it's definitely time for a change.
If she can't commit herself (read that whichever way you want!) for another 4 full years because of her Westminster aspirations she shouldn't stand at all.
She has wasted money galore - The Pond and its bridge, Charter Place, the so-called HEALTH (?) Campus and allotments fiasco, to name but three.
I am not a Watford resident and therefore cannot vote in the Mayoral election on Thursday. I have no personal agenda aganst her, unlike many of the posters above, and I hasten to add that I'm a-political, so, as an outsider, the way I see things is "Bye-bye Dotty" - please.
Like Thatcher and Blair she's been in the job too long (already 12 years I believe) - it's definitely time for a change. If she can't commit herself (read that whichever way you want!) for another 4 full years because of her Westminster aspirations she shouldn't stand at all. She has wasted money galore - The Pond and its bridge, Charter Place, the so-called HEALTH (?) Campus and allotments fiasco, to name but three. I am not a Watford resident and therefore cannot vote in the Mayoral election on Thursday. I have no personal agenda aganst her, unlike many of the posters above, and I hasten to add that I'm a-political, so, as an outsider, the way I see things is "Bye-bye Dotty" - please. croxley46
  • Score: 11

8:48pm Tue 20 May 14

watfordrick says...

Lets get Dolores Umbridge into The Ministry !
Lets get Dolores Umbridge into The Ministry ! watfordrick
  • Score: 3

11:18pm Tue 20 May 14

Andrew1963 says...

There are 160 members of the Liberal Democrat party living in the Watford constituency. With less than 12 months to the general election and 4 years since they last had a prospective parliamentary candidate, if it was not going to be Thornhill, surely at least a couple of them would have demanded that they get a name in the field to campaign around. It is unprecedented for a major political party in Watford not to have a candidate so close to a general election.
There are 160 members of the Liberal Democrat party living in the Watford constituency. With less than 12 months to the general election and 4 years since they last had a prospective parliamentary candidate, if it was not going to be Thornhill, surely at least a couple of them would have demanded that they get a name in the field to campaign around. It is unprecedented for a major political party in Watford not to have a candidate so close to a general election. Andrew1963
  • Score: 3

10:31pm Wed 21 May 14

Andy Wylie says...

Not really, Andy. The decision when to get a PPC isn't something the local party has a say in. We have to work to a timetable set by others and summer 2014 is our slot.
Not really, Andy. The decision when to get a PPC isn't something the local party has a say in. We have to work to a timetable set by others and summer 2014 is our slot. Andy Wylie
  • Score: -1

1:31am Thu 22 May 14

Su Murray says...

Andy Wylie wrote:
Not really, Andy. The decision when to get a PPC isn't something the local party has a say in. We have to work to a timetable set by others and summer 2014 is our slot.
Can you run that by me again Andy Wylie? Are you saying that the local Lib dem Party work to an agenda set by 'others'?
[quote][p][bold]Andy Wylie[/bold] wrote: Not really, Andy. The decision when to get a PPC isn't something the local party has a say in. We have to work to a timetable set by others and summer 2014 is our slot.[/p][/quote]Can you run that by me again Andy Wylie? Are you saying that the local Lib dem Party work to an agenda set by 'others'? Su Murray
  • Score: 0

7:48am Thu 22 May 14

Phil Cox - UKIP Mayoral candidate for Watford says...

Su,

what are the green policies this year?

I was on the radio last night and was asked about parking. What are your green policies on parking?

Don't you think people should be voting on your policies this year, yet you don't seem to have any?

Why do you think people should vote green in Watford when there are councillor candidates with policies from other parties?
Su, what are the green policies this year? I was on the radio last night and was asked about parking. What are your green policies on parking? Don't you think people should be voting on your policies this year, yet you don't seem to have any? Why do you think people should vote green in Watford when there are councillor candidates with policies from other parties? Phil Cox - UKIP Mayoral candidate for Watford
  • Score: 0

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