By-Election news: Kingston councillor quits following allowance pay while in USA report

Mr Tasker
A resignation letter from America?

How local is your local councillor?

Many of us would struggle to recognise the people that represent us if we were to bump into them in the street. However, some of the citizens of Kingston upon Thames, London might have had a harder time than most spotting one of their ‘local’ councillors over the past couple of months.
 
Following the Surrey Comet reporting that Mr Robert-John Tasker, Conservative Party councillor for Coombe Vale ward, had been representing his constituents from over 3,000 miles away, it seems Mr Tasker has resigned. Or has he?
 
Working in Philadelphia, USA and absent since the start of September, Mr Tasker had previously maintained that he could still represent his local residents via e-mail or they could opt to contact the party office or another councillor instead. According to the Comet on Friday, though he no longer claimed a ‘special responsibility’ allowance, he “continues to receive his councillor’s allowance” of £7,528.95.
 
However, it would seem that this innovative ‘call centre councillor’ approach, which had been in place since the start of September, was quickly ditched after the Surrey Comet broke the news of his absence. Though the council’s website has nothing official to say on the matter, Mr Tasker’s contact page (which the council have removed the links to from their councillors page) lists him as “not currently an elected Councillor” with an end date of 31/10/11.
 

Council website 1 November

So it would seem that the council knew of Mr Tasker’s resignation on Monday, they just don’t want their residents to know yet. When an official statement is finally released we will cover it here. In the meantime you can read the full story on the Surrey Comet website
 
As always, details of the Coombe Vale by-election and candidates will be displayed on the site once available.
 
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