When is a resignation not a resignation? When it's from Ledbury Town Council.
Her spell as a councillor passed all too quickly. It is now over six weeks since Jean Simpson resigned from Ledbury Town Council - but you’d have hardly noticed.
The predictable spin coming out of the Council was that she had been ‘bullied’ out of office by Liz Harvey and her entourage. Being a ‘lovely lady’, she couldn’t take the abuse, so it was said.
The truth of course is different. Details now emerge of rancourous exchanges in the Ledbury Civic Society of which Simpson was a board director.
It seems that ex-councillor Simpson’s claim at a recent meeting that ‘if the neighbourhood plan fails, it will be Liz Harvey’s fault’, was met with irritation. As the Civic Society prefers to maintain the appearance of political neutrality, the lady was harshly reprimanded and asked to think about her position. Too much for brittle Jean, she resigned both from the Civic Society and the town council, against the pleading of her steadfast chums Annette Crowe and Elaine Fieldhouse: ‘Don’t go Jean, it’s just a passing squall. Hang in there. Look at us. We’re weathering everything.’ Lacking the heft of Betty and Joan, the disgraced lady isn’t made of such strong stuff as the other two dames.
After her by-election win eighteen months ago, Simpson’s star burned bright in the council firmament and she was tipped for election to be Mayor in the final session before the 2019 elections. Now with her unexpected exit, the Gang of Four (Crowe, Fieldhouse, Barnes and Eager) have been scratching their heads for a replacement. Neither Francis nor Manns want to be mayor, and young Eakin is seen by them as too unreliable. So it’s time for plan B. Again. Ledbury’s ‘team Hamilton’ is back. Barnes for mayor, and Crowe for deputy, both smiling liars.
What is puzzling is why it took so long for the town council to let Herefordshire Council know of Simpson’s resignation so that an election could be called. When asked in a Council meeting why this had not happened, Elaine ‘slippery jack’ Fieldhouse explained that the resignation had been sent in error to the Town Clerk and not to her as mayor; actually therefore, Simpson hadn’t ‘technically’ resigned.
‘So… until I’ve been officially notified, there’s nothing I can do. Our hands are tied’ she said sweetly, popping another cherry bon-bon into her lipsticked mouth defiantly.
Aren’t they rascals? The mayor communes with the clerk several times per day, but even so, the departure of their fleeting best friend wasn’t mentioned.
The cynics are already saying the delay was crafted to push the election back beyond the next Annual Council meeting in May when the Mayor and Deputy are elected. Yet another newly elected dissident voice in the town council, another ally of Liz Harvey no doubt, could create obvious problems. But how could this be? Aren’t there rules which are supposed to govern such things?