Liberal Democrats in Bradley Stoke look set to force a by-election for a seat on the Town Council left vacant by the resignation of a Conservative Councillor.
A meeting of Full Council on 16th September was told that Cllr David Skeet, who represented the Meadowbank parish ward, had resigned his seat “at the back end of July”. This was accompanied by a press release, embargoed until the meeting was underway, which revealed details from Cllr Skeet’s letter of resignation.
The press release explains that the Councillor’s decision “followed criticism of his poor attendance record [at Council meetings] due to illness” and quotes him as saying:
“I feel it is the best thing for the council that I step down and make way for a person who will be a more positive and active person for the ward.”
The criticism mentioned is believed to refer to comments made by a resident of The Beeches at a Council meeting in March, where Councillors were slammed for not visiting families affected by the Bradley Stoke arson attacks that had occurred earlier that month. Cllr Skeet was singled out as being “virtually unknown” in the [Meadowbank] ward that he represented.
Cllr Skeet is also a member of Stoke Gifford Parish Council, where he has managed to attend at least five meetings in 2009 – compared to just one during the same period in Bradley Stoke.
When contacted by The Journal, Cllr Skeet confirmed that he has not resigned from Stoke Gifford Parish Council and has no plans to do so.
“I did not take this decision lightly, as if there is to be a by-election, it is tax payers money which pays for such [an] event.”
Voters in the same Meadowbank parish ward were called to the polls in October last year after another Conservative, Caroline Charlton, resigned from the Council. That by-election, said to have cost rate payers £4,500, saw Liberal Democrat Jon Williams returned to the Council after he had declined to stand at the 2007 election.
The Journal has learned from Cllr Williams that the Lib Dems have collected the ten signatures required to call an election for the latest vacancy and will be submitting them to the Returning Officer today [Friday]. He added that the party has a local candidate ready to contest the election.
The Lib Dems are no doubt hoping for a victory that would help restore their credibility after the recent setback of losing their candidate for the Filton and Bradley Stoke parliamentary seat. Local Tories however are likely to fancy their chances of beating off any challengers, after their relatively inexperienced candidate Paul Turner put up a unexpectedly good show against Jon Williams in last year’s Meadowbank by-election.
- Casual Vacancy following Councillor Resignation (BSTC)
- Vacancy for a Councillor – Meadowbank Ward (BSTC)
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