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Pendle councillor faces disqualification
12:00pm Sunday 22nd December 2013 in News
A VETERAN councillor is facing disqualification unless she attends one of two meetings scheduled to take place early in the New Year.
Coun Shelagh Derwent has not attended any Pendle Council meetings for nearly six months and is at risk of automatically losing her Blacko and Higherford seat.
The Lancashire Telegraph understands she was been living with family in Dorset since last summer after the sale of her Flaxmoss Farm home in Blacko.
Conservatives in the borough made an 11th-hour bid to have a ‘leave of absence’ granted to Coun Derwent at Thursday night’s full council meeting.
But the emergency item, which would have given special dispensation for her non-attendance until the annual council meeting in July, was withdrawn after it emerged both Labour and Liberal Democrat opposition members were likely to object.
Coun Derwent must now attend either the Barrowford and Western Parishes committee on January 9 or the borough’s next accounts and audit committee meeting, where she is also a member, or risk being disqualified.
One council source said: “It’s not as if this councillor is unwell - she has been living on the south coast with her family and has not been seen in Pendle for some time.”
Coun Joe Cooney confirmed that his party wanted to give Coun Derwent the opportunity to attend the January meetings but did not comment further.
If she failed then a vacancy would be declared at the budget council meeting in February, which would need to be filled within 35 days.
Elections are scheduled for this May but by law the seat would need to be filled before then.
Last October Coun Derwent announced she was stepping down as the Pendle West county councillor, before elections the following May.
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