A BY-ELECTION will be held in Amersham after a councillor granted a year-long sabbatical to America resigned last night.

Cllr Ronnie Lamont had his resignation from his position as a ward councillor for Amersham on the Hill accepted by Chiltern District Council yesterday evening.

He took up an offer of a Professorship in the USA and was given a year-long leave of absence from council duty by members last August.

Cllr Lamont's request was approved by 21 votes to seven, with five abstentions, but opposing councillors said his claim was “facetious” and “unacceptable”.

At August's meeting, Lib Dem leader Cllr Peter Jones said: “This is entirely for the convenience of the Conservative party. There are no exceptional circumstances here at all. He's gone off to the States for a year and he's not coming back. This is a sham.”

Fellow Lib Dem councillor Jane Bramwell said Cllr Lamont had taken the full basic allowance he was entitled to of £4,490 despite attending six council meetings in the previous twelve months. He did not claim any of his allowance for the 2009/10 financial year however.

Following his resignation a by-election will be held for the Amersham on the Hill ward on Thursday May 6.