‘I can still represent city from Scotland’ says Cambridge councillor
An under-fire councillor responded to claims he is “cheating” people living in his ward by moving 400 miles away from Cambridge – and hit back at members who said he is “not wanted” on the council any longer.
Cllr Donald Adey, who represents Trumpington on Cambridge City Council and Cambridgeshire County Council, turned up late and left early from a meeting at Shire Hall yesterday. He has been heavily criticised after he moved from Cambridge to live in Fife in Scotland but failed to resign – meaning he is still entitled to £14,000 in allowances funded by council tax payers.
Despite being dropped by his party, the Liberal Democrats, Cllr Adey says he intends to continue to stand as an independent.
Yesterday, Cllr Adey arrived 15 minutes late for the start of the full meeting of Cambridgeshire County Council, where he faced further criticism from councillors.
Lib Dem Cllr Nichola Harrison said: “The council’s reach doesn’t go as far as Scotland. People who live in Scotland shouldn’t be here. He shouldn’t cheat and stay in office here. Cllr Adey should step down and should be ashamed of himself. He is not wanted here.”
Cllr Adey, who did not speak during the meeting, cast a vote – against plans to relocate the county council to Alconbury – and then left, missing the rest of the meeting.
Speaking aftewards, he rejected the idea that he ought to step down as a councillor, and said it was perfectly possible to keep up-to-date with Cambridge from afar.
He said he would always reply to emails if residents had questions for him, and has suggested Skype might be a good way for him to interact with the public.
“I am still able to represent the public that has elected me, even though I am living most of the time further away, and that is the end of the matter,” he said. “There are many things wrong with the British electoral system – first past the post, the House of Lords. You should be able to live anywhere and still represent your ward.
“Cambridge is changing – but you can keep up to date with what is happening quite easily. Cambridge has been changing the whole time I’ve been involved with being a councillor, some 25 years. If people want to speak to me, they can send me an email.”
Cllr Adey said claims he attended the meeting to avoid falling foul of the ‘six-month rule’ were “unfair”. The rule states that councillors who fail to attend a meeting for six months must leave.