Controversy over plans to delay election

FOUR leading Ipswich politicians are among 16 people who could serve a controversial 12 months of unelected office, The Evening Star can reveal.As part of a bid by the current administration to put off elections for the town's new unitary authority until 2009, a third of the existing council would stay on an entire year past the date they should have stood for re-election.

FOUR leading Ipswich politicians are among 16 people who could serve a controversial 12 months of unelected office, The Evening Star can reveal.

As part of a bid by the current administration to put off elections for the town's new unitary authority until 2009, a third of the existing council would stay on an entire year past the date they should have stood for re-election.

This includes four members of the administration's executive - deputy leader John Carnall, transport spokesman Paul West, planning spokesman Richard Atkins and environment spokeswoman Louise Gooch.

In total eight of the 16 are Tory politicians, five are labour and three are liberal democrats.


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Labour group leader David Ellesmere, himself one of the councillors who would serve an unelected year of office, said he is firmly against politicians staying in office for longer than their term.

He said: “Clearly it's wrong that some councillors are trying to extend their time in office, as well as the payments that go with it, without facing the voters.

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“The shape of the new council in Ipswich should be decided by the people of Ipswich, and not on the whim of the current Tory and Liberal Democrat administration.”

Ipswich was one of several authorities to be given the green light for home rule back in July.

The decision means that in less than two years' time it will be responsible for a number of key services currently catered for by Suffolk County Council.

It was initially expected there would be a vote next May to elect councillors to run the new authority however the current administration is seeking to get this put off for a year claiming they want to concentrate on setting up the new system.

John Carnall, deputy leader of the Conservative group at Ipswich Borough Council, said he does not believe the prospect of a third of the council serving an extra year is a big deal.

He said: “They [the 16 councillors] have been democratically elected in the first place.

“I think the most important thing is to try and set up the unitary council effectively so it can deliver services to the people of Ipswich as effectively as possible and on the basis of good value for money.”

The councillors who could stay on an extra year:

Louise Gooch (Lib dem) - Alexandra ward

Paul Carter (Con) - Bixley ward

Steve Flood (Con) - Bridge ward

Robin Vickery (Con) - Castle Hill ward

John Mowles (Lab) - Gainsborough ward

David Ellesmere (Lab) - Gipping ward

David Hale (Con) - Holywells ward

William Quinton (Lab) - Priory heath ward

Stephen Ion (Con) - Rushmere ward

Richard Kirby (Lab) - Sprites ward

John Carnall (Con) - St Johns ward

Richard Atkins (Lib dem) - St Margarets ward

Paul West (Con) - Stoke Park ward

Carole Jones (Lab) - Westgate ward

Anthony James (Lib dem) - Whitehouse ward

Donald Ward (Con) - Whitton ward

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