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Fears for health of ex-mayor Gwen
7:30am Wednesday 25th September 2013 in News
CONSERVATIVES remain hopeful an elderly former mayor can continue to serve her constituents despite a long illness.
Constituents have been unable to contact Gwen Horrigan, long-serving Conservative councillor for West Leigh, who has been unable to attend a council meeting since May.
Council leader Nigel Holdcroft, who also represents West Leigh and has been dealing with residents’ concerns, said: “Gwen Horrigan is a very popular, long-standing and hard-working councillor. Over many years she has established an excellent reputation for supporting local residents and was also a highly regarded and successful mayor. Unfortunately over recent months the health of Gwen and her husband Pat has deteriorated.
“She last attended a council meeting in May, since when her condition has prevented her active involvement.
“We remain hopeful she will be able to return to her council duties, but this must ultimately be a decision for Gwen and her family.”
Council rules dictate any councillor who fails to attend a meeting for six months must step down.
Her resignation would spark a by-election in the safe Tory seat, which Mrs Horrigan held with a majority of more than 600 in 2011.
The contest would be a problem for the Conservatives, who control the council chamber with a majority of just one.
The Tories could face the loss of two senior West Leigh councillors in next year’s local elections as Mr Holdcroft is considering whether to step down.
Lib Dem leader Graham Longley said: “We wish Gwen a speedy recovery and if she can return to her duties, that would be beneficial to residents in the area she represents.”
The next full council meeting, which Mrs Horrigan would be expected to attend, will be on Thursday, October 17.
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