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Dismissed councillor ‘committed zero’ to authority

Copeland Borough Council offices Image copyright Google
Image caption Copeland Borough Council said Michael Guest last attended a meeting in September 2018

A councillor has been relieved of his post after failing to turn up to any meetings in six months.

Michael Guest was elected to the Kells ward of Copeland Borough Council as independent in 2015 but attended few meetings and was on no committees, according to its Labour leader.

Councillor Raymond Gill said Mr Guest had “committed zero” to the council.

However, Mr Guest has disputed the validity of his dismissal, claiming a “failure of due process”.

He added that he would be resigning as a councillor in the future.

The Local Democracy Reporting Service found that since being elected in 2015, Mr Guest had attended 10 out of a possible 36 meetings. The council confirmed the last meeting Mr Guest attended was in September 2018.

‘Badly let down’

Labour leader, councillor Raymond Gill, said: “He has committed zero to the council.

“He’s on no committees, so he has done no work and claimed over £12,000 on his allowance,” adding “the people of Kells have been badly let down”.

Mr Guest said that by sending his apologies, he had been excused from attending a meeting on 8 March 2019 and the disqualification was therefore invalid.

“I understood that I had been excused and assume that the committee was advised of the approval sought – if it was not, then that was another failure of due process,” he said.

“Having said this, I will be forwarding my resignation in the next week.

“Its terms will support my concerns over this latest apparent failure of due process within the council.”

A spokesman for Copeland Council said: “Mr Guest is fully aware that submitting apologies for a meeting is insufficient.

“A councillor must receive dispensation from council to be absent from meetings for a six-month period, otherwise they are subject to automatic disqualification in accordance with Section 85 of the Local Government Act 1972.”

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