Councillor resignation could lead to by-election

Cllr Keir Gravil (Conservative), Bradley Stoke.

The resignation of a Bradley Stoke Town Councillor could lead to a by-election being called, if local political groups choose to force a showdown.

Keir Gravil (Conservative), one of four Town Councillors representing the Primrose Bridge parish ward, has resigned his seat because his work is taking him to Australia.

His resignation follows that of another Conservative, Barry Mitchell, who left office last July, leading to a September by-election in which the Conservative candidate Paul Hardwick beat off a challenge from Caroline Sullivan of UKIP.

The cost of staging that by-election, where the turnout was just 20.8%, has not yet been billed to the Town Council by South Gloucestershire Council, but is estimated to be at least £3,000.

The Town Council is currently formed of 12 Conservative members and three from UKIP.

The three UKIP Councillors, Ben Walker, Ed Rose and Kim Harris, were all elected as Conservatives at the May 2011 election but chose to defect last year.

Speaking about his resignation to The Journal, Mr Gravil, who works as a naval architect, explained that he had been offered the chance to move to Australia for four years to work on a helicopter carrier project. He said:

“It’s an opportunity that I can’t really refuse as I doubt such a chance will come again.”

“Obviously I can’t be a Councillor when I will be in Australia for the next four years, so I have handed in my resignation to Bradley Stoke Town Council.”

Asked if the local UKIP branch was likely to force a by-election for Mr Gravil’s former seat, Cllr Ben Walker told The Journal:

“We have candidates, but are currently considering the cost implications to the Council.”

A by-election will be called if a minimum of ten local electors request one before the deadline of Friday 1st March. Otherwise, the vacancy will be filled by ‘co-option’, a process in which the remaining Councillors appoint a person of their own choosing.

The Primrose Bridge parish ward covers an area between central and north Bradley Stoke and includes roads such as Dewfalls Drive, Wheatfield Drive, Saxon Way, Oaktree Crescent, Campion Drive and Ellicks Close.

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  1. Dear Editor,

    May I respectfully bring to your attention an oversight in this article regarding Ben Walker, Ed Rose and Kim Harris.

    Elected as Conservatives they were indeed, but they have shown nothing but cowardly disdain for the electorate by choosing to defect without re-seeking a mandate.

    Such lily-livered contempt for democracy should never pass unobserved, and least of all by your esteemed journal.

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