A PETITION has been launched calling for a Seaford Town councillor to step down after he admitted a drink drive offence.
The move has been made following Ian White’s 12-month ban from the roads after he committed the offence earlier this year.
After the court sentence the Hurdis Road resident, who is leader of Seaford Town Council and also a Lewes District Councillor, was subsequently given a three-month suspension from the Conservative Group.
The Liberal Democrats say they have since been reacting to the concerns of Seaford West residents and as a result had launched a petition asking for action to be taken and for the removal of Cllr White from the district council and as leader of the town council.
Local Seaford West resident and petitioner Jan O’Hara said, “Many local residents across all political parties, who signed the petition, were appalled at the double standard apparent in Cllr White’s punishment.
“The local Conservatives, by temporarily suspending Cllr White only from the district, but allowing him to remain as leader of Seaford Town council, showed great disrespect and belittled the importance of our local town council.
“At the very least this petition should show the anger that has been created in Seaford by the Conservatives’ actions and demonstrate that local residents don’t think politicians should get away with their political record intact after committing an offence, something which David Cameron recently said was ‘beyond the pale’.”
After Cllr White appeared in court he was suspended from the Conservative Group by Councillor Tony Nicholson, leader of Lewes District Council, who at the time said it was not a matter for him to suspend him at town council level.
Seaford Town Clerk Sam Shippen said, “The law regarding his position as a town councillor is he would only be disqualified if a custodial sentence, suspended or not, for three months or more were given.
“The law has been applied and doesn’t mean he is disqualified from being a town councillor.”
In response Cllr White said, “Upon being informed about the Liberal Democrats organising a petition against me I realised that they are only concerned about the balance of power on the District Council.
“I was advised that my court appearance did in no way affect my legibility in representing my ward at both district and town level.
“Having gone to court, admitted my guilt and made my apologies, I felt that would, in some way, make amends.
“I did not lie or try in any way to cover up my error.
“With the continual press coverage over the following six weeks I have received many phone calls and e-mails in support for me to continue my work.
“I was suspended from the Conservative group at district level to show their displeasure about this matter.
“I have not been suspended from the Conservative Party.
“It is my intention to continue my work as leader of Seaford Town Council and a councillor on Lewes District, to represent my ward and all the people of Seaford to help deliver all of our promises in our manifesto.
“There is a lot of work to do in the next four years and I will carry this out to the best of my ability.”