The parish of Seascale is in turmoil now that a member of the British National Party is one of its representatives.
Malcolm Southward has formally taken a seat on the parish council, against the wishes of the 11 other members. They claim the Sellafield process worker fell foul of electoral protocol by saying on his nomination form that he works in the parish of Seascale. But the BNP member is staying put with the apparent blessing of both Copeland Council and the Electoral Commission. The rest of the members are considering whether to contest the issue in the High Court or to dissolve the council and ask the borough council to take it over.
“The right thing to do would be for us to go to law but the cost could not be funded by the parish, it would have to be individuals so we will have to wait and see whether a benefactor comes along,” said Coun David Moore.
“The other option is for us to stand down and invite Copeland Council to run the parish and see what that brings. We feel the borough council should have stood shoulder to shoulder with us on this. It’s an unbelievable fiasco. We are in the right because clearly the BNP member does not meet the criteria. We were prepared to make a stand and go to law if necessary because we are convinced Mr Southward’s nomination was invalid, then shortly before the meeting our clerk got a call from the borough council instructing us to accept. Mr Southward may work at Sellafield but it’s in the parish of Ponsonby and Beckermet, not Seascale, so he doesn’t tick the electoral box.”
There was no election at Seascale because there were 12 nominations for 12 seats. Copeland council chief executive Paul Walker said: “We have fully complied with the nomination process for the local and parish council elections in Copeland as advised by the Electoral Commission.”