Leadership challenge was rigged claims veteran councillor

Echo: Bill Sharp Bill Sharp

A VETERAN Tory councillor claims his leader offered colleagues senior positions to scupper his bid to challenge her for the leadership.

Bill Sharp claims Castle Point Council leader Pam Challis increased the size of her cabinet from eight to ten to scupper his leadership ambitions.

He believes he had enough support to win last May’s contest until Mrs Challis created new cabinet posts, which he said kept people on side.

Mrs Challis vehemently denies the cabinet increase was connected to the leadership vote and said she had been planning to expand it before Mr Sharp’s challenge, but without announcing it to her group.

Mr Sharp spoke out after an official complaint he lodged with the council against its chief executive David Marchant over the cabinet increase was dismissed.

Echo:

Pam Challis

Mr Sharp said: “Before the vote, I had enough support to win by one vote. In the end I lost by 14 votes to 11. Enough people had assured me they would vote for me to win. There was no discussion about the size of the cabinet increasing within the group and it was all done very last minute. We only heard about it after my challenge.”

Backbenchers Bill Dick and Peter Burch were appointed to the increased cabinet, which otherwise remains unchanged.

Mr Sharp said councillors were interviewed by Mrs Challis about possible positions on an expanded cabinet just before the leadership vote, despite the council constitution limiting it to eight at the time.

He said: “They then changed the constitution after the event at the annual council meeting on May 15 to allow a cabinet of ten.

“It is my belief councillors were offered cabinet places if they voted against me.”

Mrs Challis said: “Increasing the cabinet was something we were considering before the local elections because some of the portfolios had too many responsibilities.

It is wrong to suggest it was for any other reason.”

Comments (10)

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9:02am Mon 6 Jan 14

John T Pharro says...

Scrap the undemocratic cabinet system then it couldn't be exploited.
Scrap the undemocratic cabinet system then it couldn't be exploited. John T Pharro
  • Score: 11

9:30am Mon 6 Jan 14

Old Southendian says...

Stop arguing amongst yourselves. Get rid of your egos and start sorting out Castle Point's problems. After all that's what you were elected to do.
Stop arguing amongst yourselves. Get rid of your egos and start sorting out Castle Point's problems. After all that's what you were elected to do. Old Southendian
  • Score: 8

10:01am Mon 6 Jan 14

Rochford Richard says...

Corrupt people calling corrupt people 'corrupt'. You're all as bad as each other!
Corrupt people calling corrupt people 'corrupt'. You're all as bad as each other! Rochford Richard
  • Score: 7

10:47am Mon 6 Jan 14

DogsMessInLeigh says...

squabbling children.
squabbling children. DogsMessInLeigh
  • Score: 6

11:39am Mon 6 Jan 14

John T Pharro says...

Whereas I don't know whether the cabinets are appointed or there is a voting system for them both extra Councillors were Conservatives. If just appointed yet another example of how undemocratic the cabinet system is. There was never an actual vote taken by the electorate for a cabinet system just a consultation which I never heard anything about. The electorate should be allowed to actually vote on this not just be consulted. Just exactly what did the Council do in consultation? Does anyone else recall any consultation?
Whereas I don't know whether the cabinets are appointed or there is a voting system for them both extra Councillors were Conservatives. If just appointed yet another example of how undemocratic the cabinet system is. There was never an actual vote taken by the electorate for a cabinet system just a consultation which I never heard anything about. The electorate should be allowed to actually vote on this not just be consulted. Just exactly what did the Council do in consultation? Does anyone else recall any consultation? John T Pharro
  • Score: 10

3:20pm Mon 6 Jan 14

James courtnay says...

why is he bleeting Southend does simmilar all the time
why is he bleeting Southend does simmilar all the time James courtnay
  • Score: -3

3:38pm Mon 6 Jan 14

Nebs says...

John T Pharro wrote:
Scrap the undemocratic cabinet system then it couldn't be exploited.
Scrap all politics in local elections. Let everyone stand as an independent and get voted in or out based on how well they manage the borough rather than how well they toe the party line.
[quote][p][bold]John T Pharro[/bold] wrote: Scrap the undemocratic cabinet system then it couldn't be exploited.[/p][/quote]Scrap all politics in local elections. Let everyone stand as an independent and get voted in or out based on how well they manage the borough rather than how well they toe the party line. Nebs
  • Score: 2

6:35pm Mon 6 Jan 14

John T Pharro says...

Nebs wrote:
John T Pharro wrote:
Scrap the undemocratic cabinet system then it couldn't be exploited.
Scrap all politics in local elections. Let everyone stand as an independent and get voted in or out based on how well they manage the borough rather than how well they toe the party line.
Have a lot of support for this. However, don't ALL elected Councillors (and MPs) claim they always put their electorate before politics? The usual defence when they don't is that was in their party manifesto. Shame that in particular with MPs they are bussed in to gain a seat without any knowledge of the local electorate or the constituency they get elected to represent. That does not detract from the real issue here the totally undemocratic cabinet system and judging from the posts no one has any knowledge of any consultation.
[quote][p][bold]Nebs[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]John T Pharro[/bold] wrote: Scrap the undemocratic cabinet system then it couldn't be exploited.[/p][/quote]Scrap all politics in local elections. Let everyone stand as an independent and get voted in or out based on how well they manage the borough rather than how well they toe the party line.[/p][/quote]Have a lot of support for this. However, don't ALL elected Councillors (and MPs) claim they always put their electorate before politics? The usual defence when they don't is that was in their party manifesto. Shame that in particular with MPs they are bussed in to gain a seat without any knowledge of the local electorate or the constituency they get elected to represent. That does not detract from the real issue here the totally undemocratic cabinet system and judging from the posts no one has any knowledge of any consultation. John T Pharro
  • Score: 1

8:18pm Mon 6 Jan 14

LastLaugh2 says...

Must be so annoying, to discover your not the bigger fish in the pond, anymore, and as such, your dreams of promotion are now scuppered.
More effort needed to shine, me thinks, and thats just to keep you in your present role, it one of the many facets.....of getting old.
Must be so annoying, to discover your not the bigger fish in the pond, anymore, and as such, your dreams of promotion are now scuppered. More effort needed to shine, me thinks, and thats just to keep you in your present role, it one of the many facets.....of getting old. LastLaugh2
  • Score: 1

5:50pm Tue 7 Jan 14

woolstone says...

The cabinet system should be banned, totally unfair to the public.
The cabinet system should be banned, totally unfair to the public. woolstone
  • Score: 0

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