A shock by-election has been called as a councillor has sensationally stepped down from his post as Camp Hill ward representative.
Darren Haywood has cited `job commitments’ as the reason why he has quit the role a little over a year after he was elected. This means that a by-election will now be held on Thursday, December 10 where people who live in the Nuneaton estate will go to the polls to decide who will represent them at the Town Hall. The 30-year-old’s decision to stand down means that the British National Party (BNP) now only has Barpool councillor Martyn Findley, in the council chamber.
The Nuneaton News has been told that candidates are expected to be put forward by the BNP, the controlling Conservatives and the opposing Labour group.
Mr Haywood’s sudden departure has come as `no surprise’ to the leading faces at the two main political parties, who have claimed that he did not carry out his duties properly to the people he was supposed to serve.
Andrew Burtenshaw, chair of Nuneaton Conservatives said: “The people of Camp Hill have been let down by a faceless BNP councillor. Up and down the country, BNP councillors have a shocking record of failing to deliver for the residents that they serve. In contrast, Conservative councillors in Nuneaton and Bedworth have been focussing on keeping our streets clear of crime and grime and delivering good value for money for our residents.
"People in Camp Hill will now have a choice between a Conservative council that has been spending residents’ money wisely, and a Labour party that spent 34 years allowing money to be frittered away on fountains and supaloos instead of getting the basics right.”
Councillor Dennis Harvey, leader of the Labour group, said that he knows only too well the lack of service given by Mr Haywood as he also represents the Camp Hill ward.
“This does not come as much of a surprise,” he said. “As far as I know, Mr Haywood has attended no meetings of the council since June and the BNP have shown an abysmal interest in representing Camp Hill since their candidate was elected in 2008. The Labour Party has always been at the forefront of representing the interests of Camp Hill and will continue to do so.”
Alwyn Deacon, West Midlands organiser for the BNP, defended Mr Haywood, saying: “I cannot believe that Labour and the Conservatives suggested that we are faceless, I could name some of their councillors who are just there to make up the numbers. He has resigned for his work commitments, he could have stayed on but he felt that it was only fair to give the electorate the choice to decide who they want to represent them because, as a result of his work, he was not able to do that. He has to work, he has a mortgage to pay and he didn’t think it was fair on the people of Camp Hill to suffer because of this.
“We expected to be criticised, we always are, but let me say this, when it came to fighting to try and stop the closure of the green grocers in Camp Hill, the BNP councillors stood shoulderto- shoulder with the people who were protesting. They also voted against an increase in councillor’s allowances and were the only councillors to give their increase to charity, namely the riding centre in Galley Common, so to say we have done nothing is a fabrication.”
Philip Richardson, assistant director for legal and democratic services at the borough council explained the by-election process.
“We are aiming to hold the byelection on Thursday, December 10 this year, to comply with government regulations,” he said. “Residents in the Camp Hill ward who have requested a postal vote will be receiving their forms shortly. They should complete these and return them to the council as quickly as possible.
Anyone who wishes to vote and who isn’t currently on the electoral roll must register by Wednesday, November 25.”