09:35 Monday 14 January 2013

'100-mile move' for Tory but no resignation letter

Written byJOSHUA TAYLOR

A CONSERVATIVE councillor representing an area of Burton has upped sticks and moved to a new home more than 100 miles away from her constituents, the Mail understands.

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Councillor Maggie Fowkes

Maggie Fowkes, East Staffordshire borough councillor for Stretton, is reported to have relocated with her husband John to Norfolk just before Christmas.

But officials have said Councillor Fowkes has not formally resigned as a councillor, a role for which she is paid a £4,562-a-year basic allowance.

Julian Mott, leader of the borough council's Labour opposition group, said his party was preparing for a by-election in the traditionally Conservative seat.

"We can only assume she will be resigning shortly," he said. "In which case, someone else will be needed to represent the people of Stretton.

"It is, of course, up to Councillor Fowkes whether she feels she can still perform her duties. If not, then she should resign."

Anyone attempting to phone Councillor Fowkes's home number is told the line is invalid.

David Eynon, chairman of Stretton Parish Council, said he was sad to see the 'valued member of the community' leave. He said: "She is no longer around. It is a shame because she was a valued member of the community, but she and her husband saw and opportunity and thought 'this is for us'."

Councillor Eynon claimed Councillor Fowkes did not formally notify the parish council before leaving. He added: "It's obviously been a personal decision."

A borough council spokesman confirmed the authority had not received Councillor Fowkes's resignation.

Richard Grosvenor, leader of the council and head of its Conservative group, was unavailable for comment as the Mail went to press.

Councillor Fowkes, formerly of Beech Lane, Stretton, was first elected in May 2007. She was re-elected in 2011 with 1,489 votes.

She has also been a member of the East Staffordshire Sports Council and the Burton-based Sexual Abuse and Rape Advice Centre (SARAC) since 2008.

Councillor Fowkes represents the village on the borough council alongside Len Milner, East Staffordshire's mayor, and Rebecca Carlton. Her husband was previously a Stretton parish councillor.

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