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Risborough Mayor responds to "Stalinistic" jibe
MAYOR of Princes Risborough Gary Hall said it is ‘laughable’ that a fellow councillor has resorted to ‘name calling’ after he said a by-election will cause unnecessary costs.
In last week’s Free Press, Cllr Hall said the council taxpayers in Princes Risborough will have to pay for the cost of a by-election in the town which will be about £8,000.
Following the resignation of a long standing town councillor due to health concerns, 21 residents wrote to Wycombe District Council calling for a vote for a new councillor.
Cllr Hall, bottom left, an independent, said this is very rare and co-option is the usual way forward for parish and town councils.
Cllr Bill Bendyshe-Brown, bottom right, a Tory, said Cllr Hall is trying to deny Risborough residents their vote and said it is “almost Stalinistic what he is trying to do at the moment”.
This week Cllr Hall said: “I think it is a typical Bill comment. He is trying to defend the indefensible. I think it is laughable to have to resort to name calling.
“This kind of thing switches the voters off completely.”
Cllr Hall said he believes this election has been called by Conservative sympathisers.
He said: “The ones I know of these 21 are Conservative party sympathisers. It is typical of Bill to come out and try and do damage limitation.”
He said the by-election is going to cost at least £8,000 and although the money may well come from the town council’s reserves, all councils by law need to keep minimum reserves.
He added: “If the £8,000 comes from the council’s savings or reserves then Bill knows only too well that this will have to be replaced in the next financial year, and this money will come from the local taxpayers. Whichever way you look at this, the Risborough council taxpayer coughs up for this by-election.”
He said if it was a “normal cross section of the community” who had called for the vote, he would be comfortable with a by-election.
But he said he believes it has a Tory influence.
Cllr Bendyshe-Brown said: “It is not at all the Tory party. I don’t know half the people on the list. They are not Tory activists.”
The Free Press rang a random selection of people who had called for the vote.
David Hodgkinson, who said he was ‘not particularly Conservative’, was one of the 21 on the list with his wife, Lorraine. He said he wrote because he believes in a democracy.
Norman Lucas, who was also on the list and a strong Conservative supporter said: “I don’t agree with any kind of political bias in the town council – not one little bit. As far as I know it is apolitical, and that’s how it should stay.” He said he wrote calling for a by-election because Iain McLauchlan asked him to as he would like to serve on the council as an independent and he was inclined to support him.
Mr McLauchlan, who was one of the 21 names, said he is not a Tory and he will be standing as an independent in the by-election.
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