Council backtracks as it seeks to revise committee rules

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Rules in a council constitution that resulted in a councillor of 22 years losing his seat on a committee are expected to be revised.

Clive Arthey, from Lindsey, near Hadleigh, was removed from Babergh District Council’s planning committee last month after refusing to join a political party.

This meant Mr Arthey was classed as an “ungrouped” member and the councillors voted that he could not remain on the committee.

During a full council meeting on Tuesday, members will be asked to go back on this stance after it emerged that, under government regulations, Mr Arthey is entitled to take up a seat on a committee if space is available.

“I am not completely aware of how it will pan out and feel I am at the mercy of other councillors,” said Mr Arthey.

“It seems what was done was not in accordance with the law, but nobody is saying it was wrong.”

The district council is revisiting the situation after taking specialist legal advice and it will be up to councillors to approve the change.

Richard Kemp, councillor for Long Melford, who gave up his position on the scrutiny committee to allow Mr Arthey to have a role, said he should have been allowed a place within a committee no matter what his political allegiance.

“He is entitled to be slightly upset as this has infringed on his duties as a councillor,” said Mr Kemp.