Labour calls for by-elections as two city Conservative councillors settle in Gloucester

Plymouth Labour is asking Plymouth City Council to call by-elections in two areas of the city following the permanent move of two sitting councillors to Gloucestershire, some 120 miles away.

Labour Group leader Cllr Tudor Evans has written to Tracey Lee, the council’s chief executive, asking her to raise the matter with Conservative council leader Richard Bingley, ahead of the Council’s AGM in 10 days’ time. (see below for text of letter)

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Cllr Evans said “It cannot be good for the credibility of the City Council to have two of its newest councillors upping sticks so soon. They are being paid almost £1,000 a month with our council tax, to live high on the hog in Gloucestershire. I’m sure many of their residents in Plympton Chaddlewood and Moor View have no idea who these people are, as they live so far away.”

Cllr Jemima Laing, deputy leader of the Labour group, added: “These Conservatives moved away almost as soon as they were elected. Chaddlewood and Moor View deserve better, quite frankly. The Conservatives are clinging on to power, and need these councillors’ support. But keeping two absent councillors on the payroll for political gain is just inappropriate. It’s time they resigned or were removed.”

Dear Tracey & Richard

Request for two by-elections for councillors living in Gloucestershire

In May last year, two councillors, Shannon Burden and Daniel Collins were elected to serve four year terms on Plymouth City Council.

Within two months, both had secured jobs in Gloucestershire and soon after moved away from Plymouth.

They continue to be paid their full members allowances, over £11,000 a year.

Most of their constituents would be unaware of their absenteeism, nor of their receipt of Plymouth taxpayers money whilst living almost 150 miles from Plymouth. They will of course, now pay their council tax to Gloucestershire.

I’m writing to request that you discuss inviting both Cllr Collins and Cllr Burden to resign, in order for the by-elections to be held and councillors with the ability to commit to Plymouth to be elected.

Yours sincerely,

Cllr Tudor Evans