Six and out for no-show councillor

First published in Romsey

A TORY councillor has lost his seat after failing to attend six meetings on the trot. Miles Willshire, who was elected in 2011, disqualified himself from Romsey Extra Parish Council after failing to attend any meetings since September 12 last year.

By law, if a councillor fails to attend six monthly meetings in a row they are automatically disqualified.

Speaking after his dismissal, Mr Willshire said: “I was under the impression that I needed to attend the next meeting in April to avoid being removed as a parish councillor. “I have found it hard to attend a number of meetings due to my work commitments. It is difficult to balance the demands of both a full-time job and fulfilling my duties as a parish councillor.” Mr Wilshire, 25, is an account manager at a Hampshire PR company.

Parish clerk, Carol McFarland, said: “I can confirm that Miles Willshire has been removed as a parish councillor for non-attendance of parish meetings over six months.”

John Parker, a member of the parish council for 27 years, criticised his attendance.

“Since he was elected in 2011, Miles Willshire has, in fact, only managed to attend nine out of 38 meetings. Not only that, but he has contributed virtually nothing to the work of the council. “It is accepted that councillors cannot always attend all of the meetings, but the rest of the council share other duties among themselves, doing much vital work between council meetings. For example, I lead for the council on planning matters and normally draft our planning responses and objections. I also speak at planning committees and appeals on behalf of the council,” said Cllor Parker.

In response to Cllr Parker’s remarks about him, Mr Willshire said: “Cllr Parker’s comments are unhelpful and unnecessary, and are nothing more than a personal attack.

“Unlike Cllr Parker, who is retired, I have a demanding full -time job, I feel the council could do more to encourage and work around the commitments of those who aren’t retired.”

He added that it had been a pleasure to serve as a parish councillor and he thanked residents for their support.

The parish council has already begun its search for a new member and has advertised the vacancy on notice boards around the area.

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