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Another Herefordshire Council election?


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I notice there may be a council election called following the death of Cllr Peter Watts (Con, Ledbury) after a long illness. Would the council have to have an election even though we are only a year away from the next poll in May 2015?



News report in Hereford Times - Wednesday 7th May 2014


TRIBUTES have flooded in for passionate councillor, paratrooper and firefighter who died on Monday evening, aged 66.

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Another unfortunate death for a family and another vacant seat on the Council.


Hereford Times: 11:01am Friday 9th May 2014 in News By Bill Tanner

THE four-time Mayor of Leominster who put a price on his life when diagnosed with a one-in-a-million cancer has died.
Roger Hunt is the second loss to Herefordshire Council this week after the death of Councillor Peter Watts.
Councillor Hunt, one of the county’s longest serving local politicians, died at St Michael’s Hospice on Wednesday, aged 68.
In 2007, Roger put a price on his life to secure a six-figure loan that covered the cost of pioneering cancer treatment in the USA – a cost that the NHS would not meet.
He had been diagnosed with a cancer called a chordoma at the base of his spine, so rare that figures from the USA put the chances of it occurring at one in a million.
In the UK, Roger faced major organ removal and severe disability if he survived.
At the time of diagnosis, Roger was fighting a successful campaign for the council’s Leominster South seat.
Armed with his own records, Roger successfully pitched his case for pioneering proton therapy to one of its leading centres, Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
There, he went through 39 sessions of treatment that  bought him eight more years of life to fight for the awareness of his condition and address the lack of treatment options in the UK.
Though dogged by a gradual decline in health and mobility, Roger continued with his council work up until recent weeks. 
As well as being a ward councillor on the Tory group  he was the vice chairman of the regulatory, planning and overview & scrutiny committees.
He also sat on the Marches Housing committee.
Roger moved to Leominster from Leicester in 1967 and quickly fell in love with the town and its people.
He would speak of feeling “ very honoured†to serve Leominster on both its town council and as ward member on Herefordshire Council.
Prominent in his support for  local businesses, charities and services, Roger counted one of his proudest achievements as helping establish the campaign group that raised £250k towards a new swimming pool for Leominster in 2006.
A year later he was made an honorary townsman ahead of his cancer being confirmed.
For the past three years, Roger had been under the care of St Michaels Hospice and was full of admiration and praise for the staff and their exceptional levels of care.
His family - wife Hilary, three children and five grandchildren - are asking for donations to the hospice and its renovation project in his memory.
Funeral arrangements are being handled by Handley and Hawcutt with the service planned for The Priory Church, Leominster,  on May 23.


Also noted Sir Ben Gill has died. Chairman of Visit Herefordshire from 2010

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With only about a year to go before the full council elections it seems wrong to me for a personal tragedy for two families (and for all those who knew these two councillors) to lead to a political opportunity or political change.  I suspect the other political parties would have similar feelings.


Is there a way for the Conservative party to just nominate a replacement for the remaining time so that the residents can continue to be represented and the other parties step aside so it can happen quickly - it might be `undemocratic` but it might also be the right thing to do in the circumstances and be a cross party acknowledgement of the work of these two gentlemen.    It is a totally different scenario to Russell B Hamilton flouncing off - the HT reports indicate that they both did as much as they possibly could until very near the end. 

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gdj - somehow I think you are in dreamland!!!

If I recall correctly sometime ago the IOC referred on their Facebook page to the "hospital wing" of the tory group.

Although on reflection I am not convinced that IOC or the Indies would want to unseat the tory majority and go into next years election as the party in charge. Far better for them to be in opposition and to continue to blame the tories for all our problems.

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I suspect you're correct - but dreamland is quite a nice place - you should visit it sometime.


On the other hand, there is the slight chance that one of the independent or ioc councillors who sometimes read these threads might think "You know what, that's a jolly good idea - in response to two sad deaths we will waive our chance to make political gain.  It will avoid a costly by-election, save the families from seeing the campaigning to replace their loved ones and enable the residents to be immediately represented by someone who will try hard to honour the memory of those they have replaced".  


Although I am definitely not a Conservative, I do consider myself human.

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While I mourne the loss of two colleagues which I work with on council committees,and who also worked hard for their residents in their wards right to the end, there will be two bye elections because the Conservative party will not want to lose both seats, and I was appauled to be told that one party (not Independents) that were canvassing within 24 hours of Peter passing.

There is always a period of time before an election is called so I very much doubt the elections for both seats will be before middle of June if not longer to show respect for their families and allow time after their funerals for mourning.

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