As we go to press we have found out that New RomneyTory Councillor, Peter Simmons, has resigned from Shepway District Council.
The Looker learnt of the news when checking Shepway District Councils website, to find that Cllr Simmons profile had been removed. When The Looker contacted the councillor, he stated that: “He had agreed with the chief executive to stand down at the end of the month and that he would not be making any further comments to the press.” This has sparked a number of rumours circulating as to the reason why.
He is believed to be resigning his position from the end of this month.
One report to the Looker’s office was that he was under pressure by his party to attend more meetings as the records have shown that since being elected in the last General Election he had only actually attended 10 meetings, despite being paid the full allowance of nearly £1000 every three months plus any expenses that councillors put in for travelling.
Councillor Simmons resigned from the party shortly after being elected when he was embroiled in an expenses scandal along with fellow former District Councillor, Russell Tilson. Mr Tilson was subsequently cleared of any wrong doing, but Simmons an accountant by trade, had to repay some of the expenses to the council. After a short while the party welcomed him back.
It is not known when the election will take place, although with the news breaking now, it could be possible that the by-election could be on the same day as the general election.
With the news breaking so soon after the General Election, Looker reporter, Graham West, asked Looker editor, David Wimble, if he would stand again as an independent candidate. David’s response was: “Having done so well in the county election I was obviously disappointed at not being elected, so yes I will put my name forward. I just want to try and scrutinise the Tory led council over some of the decisions that they are making that directly affect the Romney Marsh. For many people politics is unimportant, but there are major issues that are affecting everyone who lives here, and to me, that is incredibly important. Having sat as a Conservative district councillor for a term and have witnessed before public meetings councillors being whipped to agree with decisions that they may be against, but as they had such a strong majority, they would force things through with no opposition. I left the Conservative party as I refused to be whipped; I chose to only make decisions that were for the good of my constituents. Someone has to try and keep the council accountable for their actions, voting for another conservative would just be giving the green light for them to continue to ride rough shod over the Marsh.”
It is believed that former Tory Councillor and Dymchurch Parish councillor Russell Tilson will be putting his hat in the ring.