Councillor Riley should step down

Hadleigh’s county councillor Brian Riley is preparing to move nearly 4,000 miles to the the US of A but he intends to keep his seat on the county council. He is now planning to move to Raleigh in North Carolina next month, a total of 3,966 miles from Hadleigh.

Here the EADT reports

He said: “I am moving to the USA, but I shall be coming back to the UK every six or seven weeks to keep up with my council work.

“We are in the 21st century with e-mails and Skype and there are plenty of ways of keeping in touch with people in Hadleigh. It isn’t a case of gathering around the parish pump any more.”

Mr Riley said he did not feel it would be possible to remain a member of a district or parish council while living abroad because they deal with “nitty-gritty” issues.

“But as a county councillor my role is more strategic and I don’t think it will be a problem doing my work from Raleigh.”

So councillor Riley, education, roads and public protection are not “nitty-gritty” issues?

What he is saying is utterly bizarre. It sounds like he wants to fly over here to attend council meetings in Ipswich and never spend any time in Hadleigh

The EADT reports that

Mr Riley had the Conservative whip withdrawn from him last night – and is coming under pressure to resign from the council by March 20 to allow a by-election to be called on the same day as the general election.

He has also been summoned to a meeting with county council leader Mark Bee and chief executive Deborah Cadman when he will be told that he has to resign from the authority if he goes ahead with his move to America.

The BBC reports here,

Mark Bee, leader of the council, said Mr Riley’s plan “beggars belief”.

It certainly does.

He said Mr Riley had been suspended by the Conservative group and would be urged to consider resigning as a councillor, preferably in time to allow a by-election to coincide with the general election in May.

But the emigrating councillor cannot be forced to resign from his role, which includes a £10,000-a-year allowance, as legally he is only required to attend one meeting every six months.

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