A parish council election candidate has stormed into a row over the “considerable expense” of holding the by-election.
Graham Terry of Netherhall Road, Baildon , has hit out at Liberal Democrat rival Ian Lyons for failing to withdraw as a candidate for Baildon East in the parish council elections in October – a move which will cost the parish council about £8,000.
He and his other rival Jen Kilyon, of Bank Crest, had agreed to withdraw as candidates before the deadline of September 11, which would have meant the current parish council would vote to co-opt a new councillor. However, Mr Lyons refused and, because ten residents petitioned Bradford Council, the by-election was called.
A joint statement by Mr Terry and Mrs Kilyon reads: “We considered the cost implications of the election to the Baildon residents and agree that a co-option would be far and away the better approach for the selection process.
“After a short discussion, we agreed to a three-way mutual withdrawal from the process, but such agreement was not forthcoming from Mr Lyons who, after consultation with his political party, maintained that the election should stand.
“We appreciate that, in the interests of democracy, a public vote is the most desirable solution. However, with an organisation having limited funds trying to provide grants and donations to many local causes, we feel that the considerable expense of an election should have been avoided in order to maintain a flow of funds back into the community.”
Mr Lyons said he had “fought hard with his conscience” over the decision and admitted “seriously considering withdrawing.” But he said: “With less than 24 hours to meet the deadline and no definite position from the Labour candidate (Mrs Kilyon), I had to make a choice. So, I consulted with my colleagues and, more importantly, I consulted with residents themselves.
“In the end, the overwhelming response from an online poll, and residents themselves, was that parish council vacancies should be decided by election and not other councillors. The response from my colleagues was also in favour of a democratic vote.”
The cost of the election will be paid for by Bradford Council, meaning taxpayers will ultimately foot the bill.
Mr Lyons, of Cliffe Avenue, said: “Every election is expensive. If Councillors were more committed, instead of resigning constantly, this would never occur in the first place.”
The Baildon East seat is up for election following the resignation of Peter Haley. It is likely to be held on October 4.