18 May 2017

Why vacancies on Hedge End Town Council should always be contested...

Although the news was not unexpected, this particular tweet from the Lib Dem leader of Eastleigh Borough Council last night was more than a little disappointing.

The reason I say that is Cllr Allingham was rejected by the electorate when all of the Hedge End Town Council seats were last re-contested, in 2015.

It was Hedge End St Johns, the ward where I live, so I remember it well. The long-serving Margaret Allingham finished fourth in that election, with the three candidates (two Conservatives and a Lib Dem) finishing ahead of her being elected as Town Councillors.

As you can imagine, seeing Cllr Allingham pop up now, as the Chair of Hedge End Town Council, just doesn't seem right in the context of that result.

Mind you, she was the Vice Chairman of Hedge End Town Council prior to that election and the defeat torpedoed the Lib Dem's plans to make her Chairman in 2015-16.  One could argue that it is fair that she gets a chance now, but the more important consideration is that if the electorate rejected the Vice Chair of the Town Council in 2015 what is she doing taking on the top job a couple of years later...?

The answer of course, is that one of the Lib Dem Town Councillors in the Hedge End Freegrounds ward resigned at the end of 2015 and Cllr Allingham was re-elected in the subsequent by-election.

As you may recall, the Hedge End Freegrounds ward was not contested in 2015, with the three Lib Dem candidates elected by default as nobody else stood against them. It was therefore a pretty safe seat for the Lib Dems. When one of the new faces stood down, Cllr Allingham duly won the by election by 262 votes to 115, with a turnout of only 23.4%. Although fair, it is hardly a ringing endorsement.

Since then there have been two other resignations on the Town Council, neither of which was contested with the seats filled by co-option. With Labour and the Conservatives apparently having given up contesting these vacancies, the Lib Dems are now able to do what they like without even requiring the formality of a by-election...

So as you can see, there continues to be a problem in Hedge End, which the citizens need to address.

We need to contest every vacancy, but that requires people to come forward and stand against the Lib Dems, who are more than happy to take the seats by default if we don't do that.

Now it so happens that I have just become the Nominating Officer for the Beer, Baccy and Scratchings party (it's a long story). Although I am expecting that party name to change again soon, to something a little more sensible, it means that you don't have to stand as an Independent if you hate the main parties and want to contest any of the local seats. Just talk to me or Ray Hall and you can stand with us instead, thus gaining the advantage of standing for a fully registered political party.

Do please drop me a line if you would like to get involved.

And you can join the conversation here;