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Haverhill Town Council co-opts Alan Stinchcombe to fill vacant seat amid claims of party politics





Amid claims and counter-claims of party politics coming into play, Haverhill Town Council this week elected a councillor to fill the vacancy on its West ward.

The position had been empty since Conservative Cllr Margaret Marks resigned in December.

At the full council meeting on Monday, members – of which eight were Labour, seven the independent group, Putting HAVERHILL First and one, Joe Mason, Conservative – were asked to decide whether to co-opt Alan Stinchcombe (Lab) or Paula Fox (Con) to fill the vacancy.

Former councillor Paula Fox
Former councillor Paula Fox

Both previously served on the town council, with Mrs Fox having been councillor for Haverhill West, where she also lives.

At the meeting, Cllr Jason Crooks (Ind) said: “I know the result because of party politics. People have said it doesn’t matter but I already know the result, so it does matter doesn’t it. It’s just a shame but that’s how it is.

“The residents of Haverhill West were left with a Conservative councillor. They voted for a Conservative councillor and now people are forcing a Labour councillor on them.”

Alan Stinchcombe, left, has returned to Haverhill Town Council. He received support from Cllr Tony Brown, right.
Alan Stinchcombe, left, has returned to Haverhill Town Council. He received support from Cllr Tony Brown, right.

Earlier, Cllr Lora Miller-Jones (Lab) said: “I think we are all agreed that we don’t work in a party political way on this council at all. It’s not like big councils.

“The party politics doesn’t matter, what matters is the work someone can do and the work that Alan does is above and beyond anything I can personally wish for.”

Independent Cllr Tony Brown said: “Alan has worked tremendously hard. I’m quite disappointed he didn’t stand (for re-election) last May.

“I don’t look upon him as Labour or whatever, I look at him as a very good human being, a hard-working person.”

Cllr Joe Mason said: “I respect the democratic will of the people above all else and for me, it’s a simple swap in and swap out. Cllr Fox has represented the West ward as a resident of the West ward admirably.”

Councillors voted 10 to five to elect Mr Stinchcombe to the council.