Former Sutton mayor in trouble down under
A controversial former mayor who now holds a top job in Western Australian government is ruffling political feathers like he did here in the 1980s.
Bob Johnson, mayor of Sutton between 1985 and 1986, is now Police Minister in Western Australian government and is embroiled in a very public spat with a colleague.
After being branded "Inspector Clouseau", Rob Johnson as he is now known, has been labelled "bumbling" and "incompetent" by fellow Liberal party MP Don Randall.
The party in-fighting has been done publicly and has seen Johnson tell the Australian press he wants nothing else to do with his colleague.
Nearly 16 years ago to the day, and only weeks before the 1986 local elections, a row with former friend and party ally Freddie Townsend lead to Bob Johnson being sensationally sacked as mayor of Sutton.
Although the official party line at the time was Johnson had been de-selected by his Conservative party after he failed to comply with rules that stipulated he must live in the borough.
However, Mr Johnson said that a clash of personalities with his fellow Tory councillor lead to his removal from office.
"I can work with Freddie as a councillor but not as a leader," he said.
Current Councillors Graham Tope and Peter Geiringer, can remember the row.
Peter Geiringer, Conservative councillor for Belmont said he could remember some "argy bargy" within the party, but wouldn't be drawn on what it was about.
Lord Tope, former Liberal Democrat council leader said: "Freddie and Bob were very close, and then all of a sudden they were arch enemies. It ended up with the two running against each other in 1986, with Bob representing a splinter party." Despite living in neighbouring Banstead and trying to sell his home in order to move into the borough, the man who raised over £20,000 for children's charities in one year was ousted.
A Wallington councillor between 1978 and 1986, Bob Johnson was famed for riding around the borough on his trusty steed Coburg.
Coburg, named after the Coburg Tea and Coffee company of which Mr Johnson was Chairman, was often seen patrolling Wallington, much to the delight of locals.
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