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South Tyneside Independent Alliance dwindles further

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Allen BranleyMr. Allen Branley “removed” from borough council

The remaining rump of the South Tyneside Independent group of councillors is in further crisis and disarray this weekend after one of their founding members Mr. Allen Branley has lost his seat in the Westoe ward of South Shields. Dentist and property developer Branley was one of the founder members of the Independent Alliance back in December 2005 when they were described as “rebels”, but in the past six months he has failed to turn up to a single meeting of South Tyneside Council, The Local Government Act 1972 states that when a Council Member fails to attend any meeting for six consecutive months from the date of his last attendance, he ceases to be a member of the authority unless the Council accepts a reason for the failure to attend.

Branley romped home to win the Westoe ward for a second time in 2008 with a massive majority having first secured the seat in 2004, however he came under fierce attack in 2006 for his poor attendance record and said at the time that many committees were “just talking shops”, and as I reported here Mr. Branley’s prophetic words ““I have chosen a strategy to attend meetings where I feel I can make a difference and raise issues”.

I understand that this is not the first time that Allen Branley (a former Labour councillor) has found himself in this position and that he had previously “resigned” his seat after a lengthy period of non attendance. On this occasion it has been suggested to me via unconfirmed reports that an enquiry was made to officials at South Shields Town Hall asking when Mr. Branley ought to attend his next meeting, it was then that the realisation sunk in that more than six months had past since he last attended, and that he has been summarily removed from the council.

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Which in my opinion all makes this 2008 newsletter look rather silly.

The South Tyneside Independent Alliance is in trouble it’s numbers have steadily decreased as one after another their councillors have left in sometimes acrimonious circumstances, as a group they are now less than half the size that they were with  only Cllrs. Jane Branley, Ahmed Khan, Geraldine White, George Waddle, Victor Thompson, John Hodgson, and Gordon Finch remaining.

Progressives Jim Capstick, Ken Hickman, Marjorie Robinson, Enid Hetherington, Lawrence Nolan have been followed as leavers by Tom Defty, George Elsom, Terry Haram, and Steve Harrison, now bringing the total lost to the Alliance to ten, and there must be question marks over the heads of one or two remaining Alliance councillors.

The failure of Allen Branley to turn up and represent his electors in Westoe ward will result in a by election which will cost the borough’s tax payers around £20000 to organise as polling stations are hired, polling cards printed and distributed, official notices printed and published,  staff hired for the day to man polling stations and to organise the count. Frankly, when one considers that this group of councillors have been keen to attack wasteful council spending it is astonishing that the failure of one of their number to attend meetings has burdened the rest of us with this additional cost.

Following on from the fury caused by their deputy leader’s allowance and expenses claims and an assault allegation, this has not been a “good news week” for the Independents in South Tyneside. I have emailed Cllr. Mrs. Branley asking for her thoughts on these events a few days ago but so far she has decined to comment.

Perhaps the remaining seven Alliance councillors might like to reflect on that.

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Written by curly

June 21, 2009 at 10:51 am

4 Responses

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  1. you have missed John Hodgson


    June 21, 2009 at 2:09 pm

  2. […] that Independent Cllr. Mr. Allen Branley attempted to get himself off the hook over his non attendance at meetings of South Tyneside council by penning a letter of resignation full of spin and bluster, work […]

  3. […] sacked from South Tyneside Council in December 1993 and January 1994 respectively, and now Allen has made it a triple treat for the Branleys by losing his seat on 18th June after failing to attend any meetings at all in the […]

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