Corby councillor who moved 150 miles away will not stand down yet

A Conservative Corby councillor who has moved up north says he intends to stand down from the council – but not yet.

Monday, 28th October 2019, 4:09 pm
Cllr Mckellar now lives in a village outside Manchester.

Cllr Rob McKellar, who represents Weldon and Gretton, says despite living 150 miles away from the area he represents he will continue to do the elected role because to stand down now would send voters to the polls unnecessarily.

He said: “It is not the appropriate time (to stand down) at the moment. The last thing I would want to happen is to trigger any Corby by-election which would be a proxy referendum vote on Brexit.”

He added: “This term of office should have ended. The whole council is in a similar situation. We are well beyond the time we signed up for.

The councillor says he can still undertake his political role just as well despite living 150 miles away from the area he represents.

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“My intention is to stand down before 2021, however I don’t have a date as yet.”

The Government’s decision to abolish the county’s eight councils and replace them with two new unitary authorities meant the elections which were supposed to take place in May were cancelled. Instead the Corby councillors, who were elected in May 2015, will stay on until Corby Council is wound down in 2021. That means they will have served a six-year term.

Cllr McKellar received £4,566 in allowances for his role in the most recent 2018/19 financial year. He stood down as leader of the opposition in November 2017 after he took on a new job as head of legal services at a property firm. He was recently living in Milton Keynes before relocating to a village outside Manchester. In July he said the council should introduce digital committees to allow councillors to debate via video link.

Cllr McKellar, who did attend last Thursday’s full council meeting, says that despite living at the other end of the M6 motorway he can still continue to represent the people living in the area and says he has never received much case work anyway. He said some weeks he can receive three or four emails and other weeks receive nothing. He did not say anything about the controversial Corby incinerator in his ward and when asked why says it is because he is more concerned about the proposed nearby waste plant at Brookfield Plantation.

In the past year the full council meetings have been less than full with an average attendance rate of 70 per cent. In 2018/19 the council paid out £175,745 to councillors in allowances, with the highest allowance of £18,265 going to leader Tom Beattie.

Unitary, however, is still not certain, as it has yet to be agreed by Parliament.

If it is not approved before a general election, a new government could decide to reverse or amend the unitary decision.