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One Councillor, two seats?

0 votes
Hello, I'm new here.

A parish Councillor who represents the first ward in a parish with two wards recently stood for election and won in a by election in the second ward. It seems logical that they cannot have two seats and must resign from one. But I cannot find a rule or law that specifically requires this. So what should happen now and what does the law say about this situation?
Many thanks in advance
asked by (120 points)

2 Answers

+2 votes
Welcome aboard Rob!

The Electoral Commission's Guidance for Candidates publication for Parish and Town Council elections includes the following:

"If my parish/community is warded, can I stand for election in more than one ward?
1.7 Some parishes and communities will be sub-divided into wards. You can check with the Returning Officer if the parish or community you intend to stand in is warded. While you may submit nomination papers for more than one ward, you cannot stand for election in more than one ward within the same parish/community after the deadline for withdrawals.
1.8 If the Returning Officer accepts your nomination papers and you are validly nominated in more than one ward within the same parish/community, you must withdraw from all wards but one by 4pm on the 19th working day before the poll. If you do not, then you will be deemed to have withdrawn from all of the wards."

Although your circumstances are slightly different, it would appear that the candidate's nomination in the by-election was invalid and that the by-election may have to be re-run. If I were you, I'd refer this to your Returning Officer as soon as possible, as it may not be permissible for the candidate to choose which ward they would like to represent.
answered by (15.9k points)
Thank you for your reply!
Today I received a response from the Elections Team at the Council regarding this:
"Thank you for your email, the by-election procedures have been carried out in accordance with relevant legislation, namely the 1983 and 1985 Representation of the People Acts, together with the Local Elections (Parishes and Communities) Rules 1986, and the Representation of the People Act 2000 & the Representation of the People Regulations 2001.

We are not aware of any provision that disqualifies a sitting councillor from standing for election."
I'd be tempted to refer this to the Electoral Commission. I'm looking after a three-warded council at the moment, so that response suggests that an individual could hold three seats and be a one-man quorum! I haven't found the legislative reference, but I doubt that this would be permissible, for obvious reasons. Whatever we think of the legislation, common sense does normally prevail.
0 votes
I think there's a bigger question here as to why he's wanted to stand and sit on two wards and not resigning from one of them? This surely can't be an innocent decision it makes no sense! Have they done it to block another candidate? For power?

I'm afraid the MO at your local council is wrong and should be picked up on this. By default, it would mean this councillor, therefore, has two votes which is not democratic and therefore illegal.

Speak to the MO again and if not then I agree with DavetheClerk take it to the Electoral Commission.

*Mind boggles*
answered by (1.7k points)

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