By Connor Steel
IT HAS been announced that a Fareham Councillor has resigned from her position after her decision to move to Liverpool was criticised from local parties and residents in her ward; occurring just days before the council is set to return back to regular meetings following a summer break.
The move, confirmed on Monday, means that Liberal Democrat Jean Kelly will no longer represent the seat of Portchester East ward in Fareham Borough Council; having been elected by a majority of voters. Her resignation follows days of critics after it emerged that Ms Kelly had moved to Liverpool earlier this year; with the Fareham Conservatives highly vocal on the subject last week calling on her to quit the role in the council.
They said that the fact she had moved about two hundred and fifty miles away from her ward was “part of a long list of disappointments” from her party. In response Fareham Liberal Democrats said her commitment had been “unwavering” despite her move up to the major northern city.
The party furthermore said that the resignation was “long planned” and completed to coincide with the end of the summer break to help “minimise any disruption to the council during the annual August holidays”.
A spokesperson for the Local Democrat party, as reported by the BBC, said her resignation letter was left with the party for submission in early September and Mrs Kelly’s move from Portchester was “not eased by complications” in her house buying and selling process.
But Conservative councillor Seán Woodward, leader of Fareham Borough Council, feels that the resignation should have been announced as early as April this year; which is when the house move to Liverpool is believed to have occurred, although this has not been confirmed by any source.
He said that Mrs Kelly’s resignation would cost taxpayers “several thousands of pound” as a by-election campaign begins in earnest, which could have been avoided in his words The leader said: ”If she resigned in April then the by-election would have been held on polling day at negligible cost”
One anonymous Globe reader from Fareham said of the news: “She’s not my ward councillor but I can see both sides here. You do want a representative who is going to be on the streets regularly, but I also suppose that remote working wouldn’t make the job impossible to complete. Good luck to everybody in the election.”
The Local Democracy Reporting Service has stated that the by-election is planned for October 20 (Thursday), with ballots cast between 7am and 10pm as traditional. This has not been confirmed by Fareham Borough Council, whilst readers can see an article on the subject via the BBC.
PICTURED BY BBC NEWS: Jean Kelly has resigned from her role as Portchester East Councillor on Fareham Borough Council following her move up north to the Liverpool area.