Worthing Labour Party has condemned the behaviour of Worthing Liberal Democrats as disgraceful following the disqualification of Castle Ward Lib Dem councillor David Potter less than a month after the May elections. Mr Potter had not attended a Council meeting since December 2013.
Labour candidate Jim Deen said: “They knew there was an issue with Potter and his attendance and that it was obvious he was failing to perform the duties he was elected to do. The problem was being openly discussed by the Lib Dems long before the May elections.
“They should have done the honourable thing and asked him to resign in time for a by-election to be held alongside the other May elections.
“Now they have forced a by-election in August and running it will cost an estimated £7,000 of Council Tax payers’ money – resources that would have been far better spent on hard-pressed services.”
“The Lib Dems have let down the electors of Castle Ward and the people of Worthing. And this is not the first time. Just six months ago the other Lib Dem councillor representing Castle defected to UKIP.
“The only good thing to come out of this shambles is that the electors of Castle Ward get a chance to show what they think of the way the Lib Dems have treated them. And they get the opportunity to vote for real change and a genuine opposition to the Tory dominated Council by electing a Labour councillor in the August 7th by-election.”
New Worthing Liberal Democrat Group Leader Cllr Keith Sunderland is also disappointed and frustrated at the need for a by-election.
Cllr Sunderland said: “I cannot defend David Potter’s non-appearance at the full council meeting as we had been given to understand that he would be turning up. If we had known that he wasn’t going to come and the reasons why, then maybe a by-election could have been avoided, but he did not contact anyone until after the following Tuesday which was the cut off date.
“We are very disappointed that the Council Tax payer is going to have to pay for another election so soon after the last.
“All parties need good candidates and we would prefer that they were younger as there is a preponderance of elderly people on the council at the moment but it is a very difficult for younger people to balance their everyday jobs, growing families and relationships with the demands of being a councillor.”
Pictured: Castle Ward Labour Candidate Jim Deen.