Councillor should own up over illegal vote, says Tory leader

A councillor who voted on the budget despite owing council tax should be named, says the Kirklees Tory leader.

Coun Robert Light said the councillor was in arrears of £523 which prevented them from voting on budget matters under the Local Government Act – but had still taken part in the vote.

And he said the councillor, who was not a Tory, should be named – as should the party leader who was protecting them.

He said: “The councillor should own up and the leader that’s covering for them.

“It’s a matter of trust in local government – this is someone who has done something wrong, who shouldn’t have voted in the budget to put council tax up, and shouldn’t have been allowed to vote.”

Lib Dem leader Coun Kath Pinnock said the member who voted was not a Lib Dem councillor.

But she said: “Councillors are human like anybody else and for all sorts of reasons, like bereavement on redundancy, can get into financial difficulties. However, they should have declared it and not voted.”

Labour Leader Mehboob Khan did not say whether the member was from his party.

But he said: “Ordinary people are struggling under the squeeze on family incomes.

“Council officers worked with the councillor to come up with a way which allowed them to meet their responsibilities.

“The councillor is entitled to their privacy and the council tax arrears have now been cleared.

“When voting in the council meeting, it is the responsibility of the individual councillor to declare that they are unable to vote.”

A Kirklees Council spokeswoman said: “As with any member of the public, we worked with the council tax payer to come up with a way which allowed them to meet their responsibilities.

“When voting in the council meeting, under the Local Government Act, it is the responsibility of the individual councillor to declare that they are unable to vote. In this case, the outcome of the vote was not materially affected, and the vote will not need to be retaken.”