Labour’s leader on South Gloucestershire Council is criticising the district’s Tories for opposing democratic elections to fill council vacancies.
Councillor Pat Rooney says that this is a worrying trend, and that all political parties should support the voters’ right to choose their own representatives.
A by election will be held this month for a vacant seat on Emersons Green Town Council. The district’s Tory leader has written to voters criticising the cost of the contest, following his predecessor who did the same thing last August when Dodington voters were asked to choose new representatives.
At the Cabinet meeting held today, Councillor Rooney asked the Tory Leader if he opposed elections to fill vacancies. She was told that voters were being 'subjected to an unnecessary cost'.
Councillor Rooney says:
“South Gloucestershire’s Tories clearly don’t agree that democracy should be central to local councils, as they seem happy to deprive local electors from having their say. When I questioned the Conservatives on this last autumn they pointedly refused to say that elections should be held, and their new leader has reiterated this view.
I believe that all political parties should support the voters’ right to elect their council representatives.
Elections are not an unnecessary cost, they are an important part of the democratic process. I do not share the Conservatives’ view that vacancies should be filled by a cabal of existing councillors rather than by the people they are meant to be serving.”
Councillor Rooney observes:
“It ill behoves any Conservative from lecturing others about the cost of elections when their party wasted £180 million on an unnecessary general election last summer and then spent £1 billion from the public coffers to get the DUP to prop up their government.
Last summer we had a by election in Winterbourne caused by a Tory councillor’s resignation, but the Tories did not complain about that. Their double standards are breath taking.”