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May 2019 Local Election Is this legal ?

0 votes
Ok a bit complex so forgive its  length. There were 16 Standing for  15 places in our Town Council Election here in Somerset, All candidates were ask to supply 50 words to be published in the  Local Town Council "payed for  and published newsletter", 2000 plus being sent to each house.

As a NEW candidate ( 1st time standing) I supplied  50 words that included a Web site link for  further information. The 50 words were  un-know to  me prior to publication (20 days). Edited to remove that link. The person asking for the 50 words and editing was the Current Town Council Vice Chair or perhaps the  Town Clerk under  instruction from the VC. I was never informed of the edit or given a chance to reword the paragraph. I believe that  who so ever edited the 50 words was doing so in contravention of our Code of Conduct. The  unattributed reason for the edit was " No one else had a website".

As it stands I came 3rd in the Election with over 700 votes, The current chair  getting 1000 and one other 800+ (Not the vice chair). So the efforts of foot slogging around our town with leaflets overcame what IMO opinion was  an action to Prevent my Election.

What if any is the legal status of such an action and how should one seek redress or show those  involved are not fit for public office.
asked by (260 points)

1 Answer

0 votes
If the rules stated 50 words, then 50 words it is. The art of concise summary is an important quality for local councillors. You have been elected, so concentrate on performing the role of councillor to the best of your ability. As a councillor, be careful how you use your personal website; there are pitfalls aplenty.
answered by (15.9k points)
Thanks The website has been checked by a SALC executive and given the OK. Unclear  on your  feelings on a third party editing (Secretly) my 50 words.
If you feel aggrieved, then you need to put in a complaint about the editing and ask for an explanation as to why you were not invited to rewrite your 50 words.  But you have been elected so you have achieved what you have set out to do.
As for the code of conduct, is this a unique code for your council as the standard model code isn't as detailed as you suggest....

I am surprised that your council even got involved in the elections as we were advised to hold them at arms length for fear of influencing the election result.
How would you feel if you found out now that the Vice Chair or Clerk had invited one of the other candidates to tweak their submission, after the deadline, if they considered that it wasn't sufficiently robust in its original form? More importantly, how would the one unsuccessful candidate feel? You're lucky your submission wasn't excluded from publication, as there are no official rules for this type of exercise, so unless your council has an agreed policy, they can make it up as they go along.

As Mrs Abster has said, most councils would steer well clear of any involvement in a public election.
Here we are 10 months later and I now have proof positive that the Clerk and the Vice Chair colluded to damage my election prospects deliberately. With10 months experience of being a positive and proactive  town councilor and 3 Councillor resignations. The Vice Chair has ambitions to be its Chairman after the May 2020 Meeting.
 I believe he is Unfit to hold public office due to his actions, the Council is being loaded with members who are part of a group that organise none council events. His actions make him the antithesis of a good councillor  let alone be its Chairman and further our Now full time appointed Clerk is colluding with him to create division and mistrust as well as  trying and force hardworking Councillors to resign thru frustration. The Clerk has currently 3 complaints against them which are being dealt with by our HR sub com which the Vice chair who is not a member keeps getting involved with, and even worse abusing the current chair with language that would turn the air blue with its profanity. What can be done to  bring this award winning Council back to its past and to be blunt  remove the vice chair from ever being involved. The Vice Chair came 8th in the election with only 600 votes and those above him are being targeted by the clerk and him one by one. So help please help to resolve this travstry.
This is a difficult one. We live in a democracy and frankly, 600 votes is a huge mandate. That said, no councillor has the right to abuse another and that should be reported to the Monitoring Officer as a breach of the Code of Conduct.

The bigger picture is that your Council, like every other, will function according to the wishes of more than half of its members. The Vice Chair may only become Chair if the majority so decide. Unless the Vice Chair breaks the law, nobody has the power to remove him. I doubt that you will persuade him to resign.

In the end, you have to find a way of working with him, or step away and leave him to play his games.

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