Seats review after councillor’s death was ‘disrespectful’ claims colleague

Morecambe Town Hall.
Morecambe Town Hall.

A reshuffle of political seats on Lancaster City Council a few weeks after the death of a councillor was “disrespectful”.

This is the view of Councillor Andrew Gardiner, who walked out in disgust during a meeting at Morecambe Town Hall.

Coun Gardiner refused to take part in a vote to recalculate the political make-up of the council after the death of his Conservative colleague Chris Leadbetter, who died suddenly on September 26.

“I’m disgusted that you’re discussing somebody who’s just been buried,” he said before walking out.

Later, Coun Gardiner said: “I sat on South Lakeland District Council after councillors died and there was never a reallocation until after a by-election.

“There is no respect in that chamber.”

Coun Jon Barry, chair of the meeting, said: “There is no disrespect in my view. It’s the law.”

Earlier councillors had a minute’s silence in memory of Coun Leadbetter and Jon Barry described him as “a lovely man”.

According to law, reallocation of political seats following the death of a councillor must take place at the next available council meeting.

The by-election to elect a new councillor for the Carnforth ward of Lancaster City Council will be on Thursday November 26.

Anyone who is interested in standing as a candidate should telephone the elections office on 01524 582915.

The closing date for nominations is 4pm on Friday, October 30.