Councillor gets boot for series of no-shows

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Latest politics news from the Suffolk Free Press, suffolkfreepress.co.uk, @sfpsudbury on Twitter

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A councillor who applied to the High Court to take up his seat in Great Cornard following an election blunder has been removed.

Nick May, from The Hawthorns, required the agreement of two senior judges to join the parish council after a candidate, who received 35 fewer votes, was wrongly declared the winner during a local election in May 2011.

However, after failing to attend enough meetings, the father-of-two has now been removed from the council.

Peter Beer, district councillor for Great Cornard, said the costs involved with the High Court case – believed to run into thousands of pounds – appeared to have been a waste of money.

“There was lots of money involved and then Mr May never really fulfilled his duties,” said Mr Beer.

“He has been disqualified from the council for non-attendance over a period of six months.”

Mr May, an independent, was appointed to the council’s development and planning committee as well as its art, sport and leisure group after the election gaffe was resolved in July 2011.

He had gained 293 votes to Labour rival Barry Estabrook’s 258 votes, but the returning officer at Babergh District Council mistakenly said Mr Estabrook had come out on top.

Under election law, this meant the result stood and needed a special ruling to alter the declaration.

Mr Beer said a co-option or by-election was now needed to fill the position.

Fellow parish councillor Mark Newman said he would prefer to see a co-option to save the authority money.

“Mr May never really attended and he has been removed,” he said. “I would rather not have a re-election as it can cost up to £3,000.”

The district council has never revealed what the court case cost, but claimed the money would be covered by insurers.

Mr May was unavailable for comment.