It is with a heavy heart that I discovered our Conservative MP, Maria Caulfield, has accused UKIP of being responsible for the cost of the forthcoming Seaford Town Council by-elections.
In fact the by-elections result from the resignation of five town councillors, three of whom were Conservative and two LibDem (none UKIP).
Since all were elected in May 2015 (or subsequently) and served for less than 18 months of the four-year term, the question arises as to whether their selection to stand as candidates for their respective parties was appropriate.
It seems that some parties will do almost anything to win seats (in Thanet South, for example, the Conservatives are under investigation by the Electoral Commission and the police for fraud).
Perhaps one reason Ms Caulfield accused UKIP results from her mistaken belief that UKIP alone called for these by-elections. However, there is a process which requires the signatures of 10 registered voters for each vacancy and while a particular party might stimulate the process, it is the electorate (not the party) who decide.
With respect to the forthcoming by-elections, my understanding is that UKIP voters were involved for some but not all of the vacancies.
Could it be that Ms Caulfield’s accusation was politically motivated with the intention of harming UKIP or worse still with the intention of circumventing the democratic process knowing that should an election not be called new councillors can be appointed by co-opt/selection?
It is unfortunate that the five councillors resigned particularly as we were all working so well together. At town level the need for political intervention is rare.
However, the need for democracy is fundamental and certainly shouldn’t be discarded in favour of selection.
Cllr Alan Latham
Chairman UKIP Lewes