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Should parish councils be “completely apolitical”?

An intriguing row has broken out in Shoreham, West Sussex, in the lead-up to a by-election to fill a vacancy on the parish council. The local paper tells all:

CONTROVERSY is stirring in grassroots politics, with the nomination of a Liberal Democrat to stand in a Rustington Parish Council by-election. Jamie Bennett’s punt at parish politics has rippled the normally tranquil waters of the council, on which all 15 current members sit as independents.

Lib-Dem Jamie will contest the West ward seat vacated by former parish council chairman Mike Warrington, who has moved away from the area, in a two-horse race with Andy Cooper, described as the “Keep Rustington Council Independent” candidate. The by-election is on Thursday, September 17.

This kind of debate isn’t unusual at parish council level – the size of most parishes, and their limited budget powers, tend to mean the decisions they can make are small-scale: what place does party politics have in such circumstances?, goes the argument.

Posted in Local government and Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 20 Comments

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Thu 28th Oct 2021