Cambridge Lib Dems launch bid to oust ‘absent’ councillors
The leader of the Lib Dems in Cambridge has launched a bid to oust “absent” councillors as former Lib Dem Donald Adey continues as a councillor despite moving 400 miles away from his patch.
In May, it was revealed that Cllr Adey, who represents Trumpington on Cambridge City Council and Cambridgeshire County Council, had moved to Cupar in Fife – a seven hour drive from the area he represents.
Councillors get a basic allowance of £4,677 from the city council and more than £10,000 from the county council – but Cllr Adey has only attended a handful of meetings in the past few months, and often arrives late or leaves before the meetings have finished.
Many residents and councillors have expressed their frustration with Cllr Adey’s behaviour but, because of a council rule which says councillors only need to attend one council meeting every six months, he has been able to remain in his seat.
Cllr Adey says he will return emails from locals, and is able to do his job and correspond with people via Skype.
But now the leader of the Lib Dems in Cambridge, Cllr Tim Bick, is proposing to write to the secretary of state for housing, communities, and local government, James Brokenshire, and the Local Government Association, in a bid to change the rules so that councillors who move far away from the areas they represent can be “excluded” from their public roles.
In a motion to Cambridge City Council’s full council on October 18, Cllr Bick will make the case for Cllr Adey’s disqualification as a councillor on the grounds that he is absent too often to serve Trumpington residents.
The motion reads: “Noting the current experience of an elected member continuing in office despite neither living nor working in the city, council calls for a change in national legislation so that any councillor who during his or her term of office ceases to meet the minimum qualifying conditions required for initially standing for election, excluding continued service as a councillor, would after six months be considered to have vacated their seat, allowing a by-election to be called.
“Council requests the leader to write to the Secretary of State and Local Government Association seeking their support for this change.”
Cllr Adey has been contacted for comment.
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