Electing to stand

The Herald of November 15 carries an expert analysis by Graham Cooper of how East Devon district councillors were elected (“Whose mandate?”, Opinion, page 10).

He points out that several Conservative councillors were elected unopposed – they did not face an opponent, and the electorate was therefore unable to express a view on who they wished to represent them, and was unable to express a view on the policies of those councillors via the ballot box.

In his letter Graham Cooper gives the state of the groupings at EDDC as Conservative 43; Liberal Democrat 10; and Independent 6.

That was the state of play before the by-election in the Feniton ward on May 2 to replace the Conservative councillor Graham Brown.

In the by-election Susie Bond was elected as an Independent councillor in the former Conservative seat with an astonishing 87 per cent of the vote. So the numbers are now: Conservative 42; Liberal Democrat 10; and Independent 7.

The next EDDC elections (and elections to parish and town councils) take place in 18 months’ time. I very much hope that many good people will give some thought now to offering themselves to the electorate as potential councillors in May 2015.

Not surprisingly, as an Independent councillor myself, I would urge people to come forward as independent candidates.

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This would allow them, should they become councillors, to decide issues on their merits rather than having to obey the party whip (although the Conservative whip at EDDC regularly claims that he never uses the whip).

Councillor Roger Giles

Ottery Town Ward (Independent)