April 9, 2014 2 Comments
As I write this Cllr Martin Terry has yet to resign from his Westborough seat. Martin, it will be remembered, has declared that he intends to stand in Thorpe this year – in spite of having a year left on his tenure in Westborough.
This highlights an anachronism – a sitting councillor can contest elections. Only on victory will he or she be forced to resign from their previous seat. Cllr Terry could hedge his bets – remaining a Westborough councillor whilst contesting Thorpe allows him to continue in post. It also ensures that he remains a councillor should he lose the Thorpe contest. Resignation will mean he ceases to be a councillor, albeit only until May 22nd (if successful in Thorpe).
I think it inconceivable that Martin Terry will not win in Thorpe. Whatever his personal attributes, his victory is almost guaranteed owing to the opprobrium Cllr Alex Kaye attracted when switching sides last year.
So, we are left with the following possibilities.
1, Martin remains a Westborough councillor whilst contesting Thorpe. This would mean that the first full council, when the Leader and post holders are appointed, will be a fifty-member council. This could be crucial if the votes are close. The mayor has a casting vote, and the mayor for the next civic year will be Eastwood Park Conservative Chris Walker.
This scenario also subjects council tax payers to the expense of an extra, probably June, by-election.
You could even envisage the Tories holding on in a drawn chamber, only to become a minority administration after the by-election.
2, Martin resigns, but too late for a by-election to be called. See above for what this means.
3, Martin resigns in a timely manner, allowing for the by-election to be called. This saves money, allows for Westborough to have three councillors in the chamber for the first full council of the civic year, and means one more non-Tory come those crucial votes.
I expect Martin will resign, but leaving it to the last possible moment could be a case of foot-shooting if two electors are not given enough time to call that by-election. Oh, what an irony if Martin is the cause of his group failing to seize power!