Decision to call costly early poll 'was not Labour’s'

Cllr Joanne Columbine

Cllr Joanne Columbine

First published in Bury Times: Photograph of the Author by , reporter

A COUNCILLOR has been told to “check his facts” before criticising town hall decisions made in relation to a by-election.

Ramsbottom Cllr Ian Bevan branded Labour “out of touch” for holding a by-election on March 6 after Cllr Joanne Columbine stepped down.

He was concerned that holding the ballot will cost taxpayers £12,850.

But Labour has hit back after the Electoral Commission said it was never Labour’s decision to make.

Under election law, a by-election must take place within 35 days of the previous councillor resigning if two or more residents contact the town hall to demand it — and that, Bury Council said, is what happened.

Labour’s deputy finance representative, Cllr Trevor Holt, said: “Cllr Bevan should check his facts before hurling criticism.”

“We want to — and have to — save money wherever possible and this would have been a good opportunity, but the rules are there and, sometimes, democracy costs.”

On his blog, Cllr Bevan had written: “I think a snap by-election, at a cost of thousands to our local taxpayers, especially in these difficult economic times for Bury Council, is outrageous.

“It is no wonder that hard working families in Ramsbottom feel that the Labour Party really are out of touch.”

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