Really now, councillors who travel on the tube are a rare sight especially in this rotten borough, and when they do they really do need to look around in case the Hornet is buzzing around by them.
Curiously enough they were chatting about May 5th, the date of the referendum for AV and the upcoming by elections. One in Norland and one in Brompton and it seems enough has been done to prevent the two incumbents from throwing in the towel so soon, and it looks likely the voters in these two wards will have to limp on with two councillors who dont really want to be there.
In case any of you are wondering about resignations and the like the rules are quite simple.
Once elected, there are only three ways of getting yourself "unelected"
1. If you resign voluntarily
2. You pass away
3. You become disqualified from office
(by being sentenced to a custodial sentence, adjudged bankrupt, fail to attend a meeting in a six month
period or move out of the area)
Once any one of those conditions are met, thats it. Goodnight Vienna. You are history. Despite the pleadings of one of the independent candidates at the last Earls Court by-election, you cannot be "re-instated", the only way to get your seat back is to stand again at an election.
Now of course that deals with getting councillors out. Once they are out it doesnt necessarily follow that a by election happens immediately - and it certainly doesnt happen automatically!
This is a little secret all political parties keep to themselves from the general public, and they use it to their own advantage. The timing of by elections is something the parties prefer to be in control of.
Hornet is about to blow that one right out the water.
When a councillor resigns the council has a legal duty to publish the vacancy. The council then waits until two electors (from anywhere in RBKC not just the affected ward) write in to the Town Clerk demanding he arrange a by election.
Then and only then are arrangements made for the byelection, around six weeks after the letters have been received. The letters have to be signed by people who are on the voters list in RBKC to be valid.
If however, the date of the next regular council election is within six months of the date the vacancy is announced, then there doesnt need to be an election to fill it, as its considered too close to the next election.
So, Dear Reader. Next time the council publish there is a vacancy as a councillor has ceased to hold office you can really put a spanner in the works of the politicos in the Town Hall by simply writing a letter to the Town Clerk demanding he make arrangements to fill the casual vacancy immediately.
That will wipe the smirk of some of their faces!