|Not a happy chappy|
A Conservative councillor in Hartlepool has criticised two UKIP members for calling a by-election.
Cllr Ray Wells, the leader of Hartlepool Conservatives, says that the election should have waited until November when a mayoral and police commissioner election are being held to save money.
Cllr Wells told the Hartlepool Mail:
I condemn the actions of UKIP because it will cost the taxpayer thousands of pounds extra.The fact that the two UKIP members that called for the election are people in Seaton ward seems to have escaped Cllr Wells' mind. Would he have criticised two residents who weren't members of a political party? Unlikely - that might cost votes!
UKIP are fully aware the by-election could have been held on November 15, the same day as the police commissioner and the mayoral referendum.
That would have saved thousands of pounds of hard-earned taxpayers money but they have decided to call it.
Of course I am in favour of democracy and people in the Seaton ward should have three elected members but for the sake of a couple of extra weeks, the local authority could have saved that money.
If no by-election was called then no by-election would have to be held, leaving them free to co-opt one of their own to fill the vacancy. UKIP has historically been quite strong in Hartlepool although that position has weakened somewhat since former UKIP Councillor, NEC member and Deputy Chairman, Steve Allison, resigned to help found the local resident's group/political party, Hartlepool First which has upset the Tory/Labour status quo.
This election is an opportunity for UKIP to regain a foothold in Hartlepool which of course the Tories fear immensely given that they are the smallest group on Hartlepool Borough Council behind Labour, the independents and Hartlepool First with just three councillors.