A female councillor was allegedly asked by a former Conservative politician ‘how will she manage a career in politics and be a mother at the same time’.

Cllr Penny Drayton has claimed a former (then sitting) member of Bucks Council approached her outside a polling station on May 6 ahead of the local elections and asked her ‘how she intended to do the role with three children’.

Cllr Drayton stood as an Independent in The Wooburns, Bourne End and Hedsor, alongside Cllrs Stuart Wilson and Sophie Kayani.

The trio took the seat from former representatives Julia Langley, Julia Adey, and Graham Peart.

Bucks Free Press:

Cllr Drayton (left), alongside Cllrs Stuart Wilson and Sophie Kayani

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The person in question was unnamed, but Cllr Drayton said they were previously “a serving member of the majority party”.

She claimed the implication was that she “would not be able to fulfil the role” with a family.

She said “in practice, attitudes, behaviours and actions” are “not always reflective” of the words in the members’ Code of Conduct.

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“I stood, as did the other councillors for our ward, Cllrs Stuart Wilson and Sophie Kayani, because we felt residents needed to be represented by people who reflect the diversity of the community and would not be constrained by party politics”, said Cllr Drayton.

“On polling day, whilst being located outside the largest polling station in the ward, an existing councillor (now former) from the majority party turned to me and said, ‘If you were to win, how do you intend to be able to do the role being a mother of three children?’

“The implications were that someone in my position would not be able to fulfil the role.

“Whilst I have every confidence in my ability to do this, we feel the council should also include provision for any person – full-time worker, parents, those with other time constraints – to fully participate in council business and have flexibility and not give the impression of being selective to a certain type of person only.”

As society begins to open, Cllr Drayton said she and her colleagues “believe there needs to be more acceptance and flexibility within the way the council operates, which would enable a more diverse group of members to step forward, while also saving time, money, and helping the environment.”

She added: “The IMPACT Alliance Grouping fully endorse the members’ Code of Conduct, but our experience so far is that, in practice, attitudes, behaviours and actions are not always reflective of the words within.

“Times have changed and working practices and attitudes should reflect this.”

A Bucks Council spokesman said: “Councillors are expected to abide by the highest standards of conduct when acting in their role as councillors.

“Where the monitoring officer receives a complaint about the conduct of a named councillor then there are detailed procedures in place for that complaint to be assessed and, where appropriate, investigated which can result in sanctions.

“No such formal complaint has been received from Cllr Drayton.  It would be inappropriate for the council to comment further.”

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