No new councillors for 11 months after Vickery quits over sharing racist posts
PUBLISHED: 17:04 09 June 2020 | UPDATED: 17:04 09 June 2020
Residents of communities to the north of Ipswich are likely to be without a county councillor for nearly a year after the resignation of controversial Conservative Robin Vickery.
Mr Vickery stood down from both Suffolk and Ipswich councils on Monday evening after hundreds of people put in formal complaints about his conduct after it was revealed that he had shared several racist posts on his Facebook page.
The posts included calling for BAME people to be deported for their own safety because of the Covid-19 crisis – including London mayor Sadiq Khan and Diane Abbott.
On Monday 620 complaints were logged with the county council’s monitoring officer and a further 20 with the borough.
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But before council investigations could be started Mr Vickery resigned as county councillor for the Carlford division – which stretches from Westerfield and Tuddenham on the edge of Ipswich to Earl Soham and Brandeston near Framlingham – and as borough councillor for the Castle Hill Ward. He also resigned from the Conservative Party which had also launched an investigation.
Because of the coronavirus crisis there are no by-elections being held at present – and the seats are likely to remain vacant until May 6 next year.
Castle Hill is a three-member ward so council business will be conducted by two other Conservatives: group leader Ian Fisher and Erion Xhaferaj. But Carlford is a single-member division which now does not have a councillor. Mr Vickery had a majority of 1,235 over an Independent candidate in 2017.
Suffolk County Council leader Matthew Hicks said cabinet members had each been asked to help represent a few villages in the division until next May’s election when the whole council is up for election.
He said: “Over the last few months Cabinet Members have been in contact with the Parishes in the Carlford Division, so that the needs of the communities can be represented.
“This was instigated when, due to illness, the previous councillor had to step back. These measures will now remain in place until May 2021. Each member of the SCC Cabinet is taking responsibility for a group of the villages in the division to ensure residents continue to have a strong voice at SCC.”
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