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By-election to impact us all

Created on 09/07/2019 @ 12:58
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By Elgan Hearn, Local Democracy Reporter

Due to the Brecon and Radnorshire by-election on August 1, Powys County Council has gone into a lock down known as ‘purdah’.

This means that the work of PCC will be constrained for the rest of July with political decisions postponed so that none of the by-election candidates gains an advantage.

This decision has been taken on the advice from the head of legal services, Clive Pinney, and chief executive Caroline Turner.

They have sent a detailed note explaining the situation to all staff and councillors.

A PCC spokesman said: “We can continue with business as usual but any statements/releases are attributed to officers not politicians.

“The advice includes staying away from controversial statements and consultations – that’s why the post 16 will not be considered until September.”

The note says: “Members and officers will be aware that in the lead up to, and the holding of, elections care needs to be exercised to ensure that the council is perceived as remaining totally neutral.

“The election period (commonly known as purdah) during which special provisions apply, began on July 1 and ends at 10pm on polling day, August 1.

“To ensure that members and officers do not inadvertently do anything that might call into question the impartiality of the council this guidance note has been prepared as a reminder about the need to exercise caution.

“The central message is that every member of staff should ensure that they do not in the course of their duties with the council promote any party or candidate and they must not engage in political activity during working hours or with council facilities.

“They should not display political posters or stickers on council property.”

The advice even includes telling councillors or staff contacted by journalists to pass it on to PCC’s press office. Guidance is also given on the use of social media.

The by-election was called due to the conviction in March of MP, Chris Davies who was fined £1,500, ordered to pay court costs of £2,500 and told to carry out 50 hours of community service after pleading guilty to two charges of making a false expenses claim.

He tried to split the cost of £700 worth of pictures between two office budgets by creating false invoices.

A by-election was triggered in Brecon and Radnorshire after a recall petition was signed by 10,005 people.

He has been reselected by the constituency’s Conservative Association to fight the seat.

Plaid Cymru and the Green party are not fielding candidates in the by-election as part of a “Remain” pact.

They hope their voters will support the Liberal Democrat candidate and their party leader in Wales, Jane Dodds.

The list of candidates are:

The Conservative Party – Chris Davies

Liberal Democrats – Jane Dodds

The Brexit Party – Des Parkinson

Welsh Labour – Tomos Davies

UKIP – Liz Phillips

The Official Monster Raving Loony Party – Lady Lily The Pink

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