New leader for Thanet’s Conservative Party

Lesley Game (left) makes way for new leader Ash Ashbee

Thanet’s Conservative group has agreed a new leader after Lesley Game stepped down from the role.

Cllr Game, who also has a seat at Kent County Council, took on the party leadership last year after a vote of no confidence ousted then-Thanet council leader Bob Bayford and led to the Labour group taking over control of the authority.

Now she has stepped aside and shadow Cabinet member Ash Ashbee has been named as the new leader.

Cllr Game said: “Having led the group for a year after the debacle last October when we lost control of the administration it is time to hand over to someone else to lead the group forward.”

It is understood two shadow Cabinet members had raised concerns that Cllr Game’s time would be taken up with next year’s county council elections rather than district issues.

Cllr Ashbee, speaking at a full council meeting tonight (October 15) said: “I would like to thank my group for their support, selecting me as their leader, and look forward to forming a strong opposition.”

North Thanet MP Sir Roger Gale congratulated Cllr Ashbee – who celebrates her birthday today – on her leadership role, adding: “I hope and expect that in the interests of those that we are all elected to represent Ash will have the fullest possible support in forming a constructive and responsible Opposition and will if necessary be prepared to work with others to form a sound administration at what is clearly a difficult time for Thanet and for the country.”


  1. Ash Ashbee was one of my local cllrs when I was living in Westbrook, and never even responded 2 years ago when I expressed my concerns about dumped rubbish (unlike her colleague cllr Tomlinson). I’ve met her and she seems like a nice person, but this doesn’t give me much confidence in her commitment to voters.

    • Councillors in my experience irrespective of party allegiance only choose to respond to matters that suit them and ignore the rest. Councillors Whitehead and Game are true professionals of the art.

  2. She’s come a long way since using UKIP to get her on to the Council. Mind you, she left them shortly after being voted in (as did others).
    She is possibly Cons best bet at the moment, we don’t hear much about the rest.
    Good Luck!

    • But you have to question the integrity of those that jump on a party bandwagon (ukip) to kick start their political ambitions in the full knowledge they’d be swapping the colour of their rossettes as soon as they could. As you say there were a few that did so.

  3. Now that Cll Ashbee has reigned in some of her business commitments we hope that she will find more time for residents of Thanet and her constituency along with being able to meet business interested in investing in Thanet as a whole.

    Being a Cllr and especially a leader of a group takes up more time than the general public realise. As one has found in ones own experience (not as a Cllr).

    Good luck on your new roll. As to the comment of changing political allegiances. Cllr Wells changed parties as often as changing his socks. The Tory MP for South Thanet also changed allegiances from UKIP to Conservative. It is well known that many UKIP members were and are Conservative at heart.

  4. I hope Cllr Ashbee achieves what a lot of the current crop in all parties have failed to do and sort out the mess and bring to book that is the Senior management of Thanet District Council, as it is a local disgrace and a national laughing stock.

    • It’s not only the top management of TDC. I find it ridiculous that there are 56 Councillors on Thanet Council (55 at the moment as one did a runner)add on your County Councillors and there are 63 Councillor positions equivalent to some London Boroughs with populations at least double the size of Thanet. Dover District has just 32 Councillors + County Canterbury 37+ County. Thanet is certainly unique in local government terms! . No wonder the standard of Councillor of all parties with a few exceptions is mediocre to say the least.

    • It’s easy Andrew

      Thanet has low unemployment, no homelessness no poverty, plenty of good cheap houses. Lots of people have expansive cars it’s a well of area soon to have a filthy airport with millions of jobs, millions spent on a so call arty shed that has brought millions into margate, which is now a buzzing high street with no empty shops.
      Lots of people have a good standard of living in thanet in all seriousness look how many expensive cars are in the area. The tory saying is well known, ‘ the rich get richer and the poor get poorer’ under any Tory government, and most Tories couldnt give a dam about the working classes.

  5. Ash has always wanted to be a leader I’m not sure she’s the right person but time will tell now she got something to show off about at the golf club

  6. I suppose it’s fair enough to criticise Cllr Ashbee for swapping Parties as time goes on but ,really, the Tories and UKIP are only “fishing in the same waters” for votes, as it were.
    Somebody once described UKIP as “the Tory Party in exile”. The same would go for The Brexit Party.

    Most of their voters just crawled back to the Tory fold once Johnson finally opted for Brexit votes instead “Remain” votes. Leaving poor-old Farage high and dry on his own.
    So I can’t blame Ms Ashbee swapping Parties as their memberships and voters are just as interchangeable, desperately clinging to a fantasy of a noble Britain of the past, to comfort them in their declining years.

  7. For some time now I have been deeply puzzled as to why Conservative councillors and conservative voters in the CT11 postal area, have NOT spoken out against the re-opening of Manston! Although all of Thanet will suffer this disastrously if Manston re-opens, with low flying dirty old cargo planes flying in over Ramsgate Harbour at less than 300 meters, the town and behind Ellington Park at about 200 meters high, and St Lawrence before touch down at just 100 meters, why are the Conservative councillors not objecting to the devaluing of property in CT11 as a result, and the noise and air pollution that will occur? This madness must be stopped, and the Judicial review that is now proceeding, may hopefully put a stop to it, but more funds are needed, so go to Crowd Funding, and add your contribution!

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