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Suffolk: UKIP councillors facing double-vote investigation

09:00 15 February 2014

UKIP councillor Bert Poole.

UKIP councillor Bert Poole.

Archant

Two UKIP Suffolk county councillors are set to be investigated after a voting irregularity in the authority’s vital budget debate on Thursday.

Brandon councillor Reg Silvester was at his first full council meeting for several months after suffering a serious illness – but had to leave early before the final vote was taken.

His party colleague Bert Poole, from Oulton, near Lowestoft, used his voting card to register his support for the Conservative administration’s budget.

The move was spotted by Liberal Democrat group leader David Wood.

Mr Poole admitted the double vote and the vote was retaken. The budget was passed by 45 votes to 20 with one abstention.

Now there is set to be a full inquiry which could result in sanctions being taken against Mr Poole and Mr Silvester.

In 2009, former Labour council leader Jane Hore was disqualified from sitting as a councillor for a year after she was found to have used a colleague’s voting card after he had left a meeting. She had already left the council.

Council leader Mark Bee and Labour group deputy leader Bryony Rudkin have lodged formal complaints about the voting with the monitoring officer. The case is now set to be investigated by the monitoring officer from another authority.

Mr Wood said he drew the attention of the chairman to what had happened to ensure the vote could be retaken.

He said: “I didn’t name the councillor involved. I hoped he would admit what he had done, which he did. We had to have another vote because the first one would have been null and void and technically the council could have ended up without a budget.”

Mrs Rudkin said she had lodged the complaint because she felt it was important that it was fully investigated.

Both Mr Poole and Mr Silvester were first elected to the authority in May last year, and some councillors feel the incident simply showed a level of naivety.

Mr Silvester said the UKIP group as a whole supported the budget, and he felt the administration had done a good job.

He had voted to oppose a Labour amendment that would have reduced the level of the council’s reserve, but had to leave before the second vote was taken.

He said: “I don’t know about this problem. They (the monitoring officers) will have to do what they have to do.”

UKIP group leader Bill Mountford said Mr Poole had been advised by the monitoring officer not to say anything about the incident until the investigation had been concluded.

He said: “I tried to stop him voting a second time, so did the chap sitting next to him. It was a serious error of judgment on Bert’s part – we had all discussed the budget before the meeting and were all in agreement on how to vote.”

10 comments

  • pandy, do you know this famous quote by Abraham Lincoln? "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt." ... You (and various representatives of the UKIP) simply keep on removing all doubt.

    Report this comment

    blue&white

    Sunday, February 16, 2014

  • I don't think I read it properly... all this nonsense was about one councilor leaving early, giving his voting card to someone else to vote? how is this remotely double voting? He was surely acting as a proxy, for someone I assume who had to leave on medical grounds.

    Report this comment

    Ipswich Entrepreneur

    Saturday, February 15, 2014

  • Typical smearing from a labour supporting rag. It's just the liberal establishment closing ranks to support their cosy little life style at our expense. Pandy - excellent comment, couldn't put it better myself.

    Report this comment

    Gobby

    Sunday, February 16, 2014

  • I think the fact that a proponent here of UKIP can't spell "parties" and apparently doesn't even know the difference between immigration and emigration says all that's needed about the sort of people the party attracts.

    Report this comment

    beerlover

    Saturday, February 15, 2014

  • Ipswich Entrepreneur, voting by proxy for someone who has left is illegal. Cllr Poole did NOT have the right to do that. The only time this has happened in the past was former Cllr Jane Hore, a Labour member who was subsequently banned from public office for a year. This isn't a trivial matter in the slightest.

    Report this comment

    IpswichSpy

    Sunday, February 16, 2014

  • Beer lover you know what to do it starts with get and finishes with what you do with a chicken

    Report this comment

    pandy

    Saturday, February 15, 2014

  • beerlover so you think the other parties are honest;better check on how many mps have been sent to prison in the last 2 years

    Report this comment

    saxon

    Saturday, February 15, 2014

  • beerlover - just what I've been thinking.

    Report this comment

    blue&white

    Saturday, February 15, 2014

  • All party's are running scared of the ukip party any thing they can be over exaggerated to the press the better they fill, to all the other party's I would say give us a vote now on Europe and look at emigration and ukip would just fade away.

    Report this comment

    pandy

    Saturday, February 15, 2014

  • Beer lover & blue and white it starts with get and finishes with what you do with a chicken

    Report this comment

    pandy

    Saturday, February 15, 2014

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