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Revealed: Shock decision to reverse RCGP chair election

Exclusive One of the candidates for chair of RCGP council is to write to the chief executive - after her appointment as chair-elect was reversed on Friday - questioning the lawfulness of the decision to re-run the election for Dr Clare Gerada’s successor.

Pulse has learnt that Dr Maureen Baker was elected unopposed as RCGP chair earlier this month, after the leadership bid from the only other candidate - RCGP vice-chair Dr Steve Mowle - was declared ‘ineligible to stand for election’ by chief executive Neil Hunt.

But this decision was reversed yesterday, with RCGP Council deciding to re-run the election due to a ‘technical error’.

Mr Hunt had sent a letter to all RCGP Council members on 21 February saying that Dr Mowle did not ‘satisfy the specified requirements for achieving formal nomination’ and declaring that Dr Baker was therefore automatically elected chair elect ‘in accordance with the college’s byelaws and governance structure’. Read the full letter here.

But in a statement released yesterday, RCGP Council said that ‘in the interests of democracy’ they would re-run the election process again.

Dr Baker said the decision was ‘highly regrettable’ and that she will be writing to Mr Hunt to question the lawfulness of the decision to re-run the election process.

She told Pulse: ‘I am concerned that the decision to announce me as chair-elect was clearly lawful and backed up by legal advice. Therefore my concern is that the decision of council may be unlawful and I will be writing to the chief executive asking for clarity on that matter.’

But she added that she would taking part in the process as it will be a ‘positive thing for the college’. She said: ‘I am confident that in any such contest I can put forward the most confident and constructive ideas.’

The RCGP did not wish to comment on this story and would not specify why Dr Mowle was declared ineligible to stand. Dr Mowle was also approached for comment, but declined the opportunity.