Council Committee Refers Case To Secretary Of State

Council Committee Refers Case To Secretary Of State

The case of two "missing" Councillors on Swale Borough Council, who moved to Spalding in Lincolnshire but refused to resign their seats, is to be referred to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles.

Alan and Jean Willicombe left their Woodstock ward in the autumn but have refused to resign, claiming they can still effectively represent their residents from 150 miles away from their Ward.

Swale Borough Council's General Purposes Committee met on Monday (3rd February) and the issue was raised by Labour Leader, Mike Haywood, on the grounds that whilst there is a residential qualification to stand, there is no residential requirement to serve the term of office locally.

At the meeting Cllr Haywood said: "It can't be right to qualify for election by living locally but conceivably to move away the day after the election count.  This is not specifically about the Willicombes but about an anomaly which is wrong in principle".

The Panel agreed unanimously to refer this concern to the Secretary of State, the panel consisting of a Tory majority and being Chaired by Council Leader, Andrew Bowles.


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