No chance of Eastbrook by-election until 2021

Eastbrook residents have been told there is nothing Adur District Council can do about the need for a by-election following the death of Cllr Les Alden.

Friday, 22nd May 2020, 2:01 pm
This year's council elections have been postponed until 2021

Mr Alden died in January but the by-election scheduled for May 7 was scuppered by the pandemic crisis.

During an online council meeting on Thursday (May 22), one member of the public said the ward was facing a ‘deplorable deficiency in democracy’ and asked what could be done to address the matter.

The answer from leader Neil Parkin was basically ‘nothing at all’.

Pointing out that Eastbrook was still represented by David Balfe, Mr Parkin explained that emergency measures set in place by government meant no by-election could be held until May 6 2021.

By then, Eastbrook would have been one short for almost 18 months.

He said: “There’s no discretion whatsoever for the council to do anything else.

“For the council to act in any other way, we would be acting unlawfully. So there’s nothing we can do, I’m afraid.”

Mr Parkin waved off suggestions that no action was being taken because Eastbroook was held by Labour, adding: “We were quite looking forward to a by-election.

“We had a couple of strong candidates for that ward and we were looking forward to getting it back.

“It’s the fact it’s the law and we can’t do anything.”

Eastbrook is by no means the only ward running one or more councillors short since elections were cancelled in March – it’s happened all over the country.

Mr Parkin said: “At the best of times the government takes very little notice of Adur at all – on something like this they will take no notice whatsoever.”

He added: “Cllr Balfe is a very energetic member who will do his best to make up for the deficit.”

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