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