Anybody who follows local politics may be interested to know that Labour’s candidate for the Westoe Ward at the next election will be Fay Cunningham. Ms Cunningham, as many people know, is the Mayor of South Tyneside’s secretary. As many people also know, you can’t stand for Council if you are an employee. As nomination packs for the election are available from 10th March, it has conveniently been arranged for Fay to retire on the 7th March, giving her just enough time to clear her desk before hitting the campaign trail.
Clearly, there are ramifications of an employee of the Council (and a prominent one at that) standing for election so soon after leaving municipal service. In an ideal world, a 12 month “cooling off” period should prevail to prevent any compromising of interests.
Never mind, Ms Cunningham is standing against Alan Branley (Independent) who has a hefty majority to her name. Fay’s reward however will be a stab at the one of the Beacon and Bents seats in two years time, where it is rumoured John Anglin (Labour) will not be standing again. Viewed as a safe option when the plan was hatched before Christmas, the “B and B” Ward may be a harder egg to crack when (not if) Ahmed Khan takes the seat in May this year. We all know what happened in the Fellgate and Hedworth Ward.
In hind sight, the early retirement option may have been a little too soon!