Controversial absent North Northamptonshire councillor to tender her resignation

She has yet to attend a full council meeting in person

Monday, 20th December 2021, 11:17 am
Updated Monday, 20th December 2021, 11:32 am

A North Northamptonshire councillor with the worst record for attending meetings who then moved to Norfolk has told the leader of the council of her intention to resign.

Since Conservative Cllr Annabel de Capell Brooke's election to the new unitary authority in April, she had attended just four of the 21 meetings she has been due to attend.

As a councillor she has received £1,041.67 each month as a basic allowance as well as a £333 per month 'special responsibility allowance' as chairman of the employment committee - a committee that has never met.

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Cllr Annabel de Capell Brooke

Her attendance has been less than 20 per cent with apologies sent 10 times out of the 17 meetings missed.

Leader of North Northamptonshire Council (NNC) Jason Smithers said: "Annabel has given us her intention that she is resigning.

"She has to write to the council and once it is received it will be cemented. After the letter is received there are 35 working days in which a by-election has to be called."

Cllr de Capell Brooke has not attended any meetings in person since the authority was formed and would have faced disqualification as a councillor if she had not attend another meeting within six months.

Cllr Smithers said: "She's done the right thing tendering her proposed resignation. We've spoken on the phone.

"Annabel has worked exceptionally hard. Her meetings [attendance] have been below par. She's a hard-working councillor. She certainly was taking on issues and was taking them through the system. She does a heck of a lot."

Independent NNC Cllr Martin Griffiths, former Conservative leader of Wellingborough Council, said: "I think it's the right thing to do. There was really no excuse for a prolonged delay - it was undemocratic.

"It looked as though the local Conservative hierarchy were keen to delay a by-election to gain political advantage, a tactic that is not unusual for Conservative associations in this area.

"Cllr De Capel Brook polled highest in the May elections in Oundle as she was a local well-known candidate. The remaining two Oundle candidates Cllr Jason Smithers and Cllr Helen Harrison now hold senior positions on the new unitary council and as such are responsible for the wider interests of the whole of North Northamptonshire as opposed to representing Oundle and that town's neighbouring and unique rural settlements.

"Time will tell in a future by-election if the good people of Oundle are as disillusioned with the Conservative Party as the residents of North Shropshire clearly were, or if they prefer a local person to represent them."

Cllr De Capell Brook has been contacted for a comment.