Houghton Regis councillor ousted after six month absence

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A Labour councillor on Houghton Regis Town Council has been disqualified after failing to turn up to council meetings for six months.

Richard Scott was elected to serve Tithe Farm on the town council in May 2015, with the second highest number of votes in the ward at 555.

He was disqualified last week after six months of absence. It is unknown at present whether a by-election will be called, with the next round of local elections due in May 2019.

In a statement, Dunstable and Houghton Regis Labour Party described Mr Scott as a “valuable contributor”.

They added: “His commitment to his electorate was not in question.

“It is much more to do with how many people in the modern ‘gig’ economy have to juggle a need to earn a living with making an additional contribution to the community they live in.

“Current, old-fashioned rules mean being a councillor often suits people insulated from this new reality.”

The statement was ridiculed online by Community Independent Alliance Cllr Joanna Hillyard.

She said: “This absolute load of twaddle is yet again another piece of Labour’s own very strange reality.

“Mr Scott has been the most appalling councillor since being elected in 2015. Residents only need look at his attendance to see just how few meetings he attended.

“Within a very short period, he didn’t even have the respect for officers, fellow councillors or the council to send his apologies.”

Independent Cllr David Abbott told the Gazette that Cllr Scott had been removed from serving on all other committees outside of the main town council meetings at the Labour group’s request.

He added: “Cllr Scott has never played a part in the affairs of Houghton Regis, he’s not been in committees or attended briefings.”

The Dunstable Gazette has been unable to contact Mr Scott.