Plea for 'amicable solution' to council vacancy

A FORMER councillor hopes the vacant seat on Mirfield Town Council is filled without a row.

Gary Bunton, 26, quit last week for an accountancy job in Bristol less than a month after a controversial by-election.

The Labour man is staying out of whether a second poll should be called to find his successor.

He said: “That is a choice for the electors of Eastthorpe. And as I’m leaving it’s not a debate I’ll take a part in.

“However, I think everyone would like to see these situations resolved as amicably as possible.

“I’d hope for the future everyone considers how we can build up a bit more trust and perhaps better communication to the benefit of everyone.”

Mr Bunton’s dream job came out of the blue when he was invited to re-apply for a graduate scheme.

He was elected only in May by securing 662 votes in ousting Tory incumbent Andrew White.

Mr Bunton said: “I had no plans to leave Mirfield and no other commitments when agreeing to stand for the town council.

“I wouldn’t have put myself forward if I knew I was going to leave – and we conducted a great campaign with a view to winning.”

“I don’t think I would’ve won the seat without making sure every leaflet was delivered and by personally speaking to as many people and knocking on as many doors as possible.

“So it was definitely not only a serious campaign but one with a view to winning seats and serving on the council.”

On Labour’s pitch in Mirfield he said: “It’s a decision the branch will take after digesting what’s a very busy summer for Labour nationally and locally.

“The advice I would offer is that obviously Labour is in a period of rebuilding and transition.

“As part of this process Labour must engage with communities and grassroots at every level.

“There are many ways to do that and it will be up to the branch to consider how best they can go about it.”

n The row over last month’s disputed town council by-election is rumbling on.

Defeated Labour candidate Michael Hutchinson has lodged a complaint due to be discussed at the next meeting.

The by-election was called after he was unable to take his Battyeford seat in May in a swearing-in mix-up.

Mr Hutchinson lost the re-run to Coun Martin Ibberson (Con) in a poll which cost at least £10,000.

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