A DATE has been set for a byelection to replace a Canvey councillor removed for not going to meetings.

Voters in Canvey East will go to the polls on October 30 to elect a replacement for Gail Barton, who was sacked in June for failing to showup for a single meeting in eight months.

Despite this, Miss Barton, who was a Canvey Independent Party representative, was paid the basic £3,195 a year member’s allowance until she was axed in June.

Castle Point’s Conservatives have announced retired theatre manager Chas Mumford, 63, of Zelham Drive, Canvey, will be its candidate in the poll, while the Canvey Independents will be fielding a former councillor, John Payne.

With nominations due to close on October 3 no other candidates have so far been put forward.

This will be the fourth time Mr Mumford has tried to win a seat on the council for the Tories.

He said he was standing in Canvey East because he felt the ward had been “badly let down”

Miss Barton and by her party, led by Canvey councillor Dave Blackwell.

He added: “While it is up to the council to take action, has this candidate been in receipt of expenses and has she paid them back? If she hasn’t, will Mr Blackwell undertake to pay it back?”

A council spokesman confirmed Miss Barton’s member’s allowance said stopped when she was removed from the council.

There was no legal provision for the council to demand repayment of such allowances.

Mr Mumford added: “People are very cynical about politicians at the moment – and quite rightly, when this sort of thing happens.

“Canvey needs somebody who is committed and somebodywho is going to turn up to meetings.

“It is my belief if you are fortunate enough to be honoured with the position of local councillor you should complete your term of office, or do the decent thing – resign and stop taking the money.”

WHEN Gail Barton was removed from the council, Canvey Island Independent Party leader Dave Blackwell criticised her for “letting the party down”.

This week he announced former councillor John Payne, would be standing for the party on October 30 – and went on to defend Mrs Barton.

Mr Blackwell, said: “John Payne was ward councillor for four years and had to stand down originally because of work commitments.

“After a change of job, he is ready to stand again and we welcome him back. He was an exceptional councillor and puts in a lot of effort.”

When Miss Barton, of Gafzelle Drive, Canvey, was removed in June, she had planned to resign soon, as she struggling to juggle work and her responsibilities as a councillor.

She added: “There were a few crossed wires with regard to the dates, times and number of meetings.

“I was very disillusioned and struggling with my work in London to get back in time for the meetings.”

In response to this week’s Tory criticisms, Mr Blackwell said: “A councillor does not get paid for turning up. They get paid an allowance for ward work and Gail Barton was very active in her ward.

“I still say the council did not tell me if she didn’t turn up she would have to stand down. They should have informed me, as leader of her party.

“If the Tories want to play dirty, we will hit them all they want.”

LABOUR announced Jackie Reilly as their candidate for the Canvey East ward.

Joe Cooke, Castle Point Labour's prospective parliamentary candidate said: "Jackie was an excellent councillor in our administration that finished in May 2013.

"We are keen to get a Labour presence on Canvey."

WHATEVER happens in the by-election it will not affect the balance of power on the council, which is run by the Tory group, as a minority administration.

The party has 20 councillors – just enough to carry its policies at present, even if the 15 Canvey Independents and five Ukip members join forces to oppose it.

The Independents hold 15 of Canvey’s 16 seats on Castle Point Council – the sole Tory member is veteran town, borough and county councillor Ray Howard.