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'Holiday' councillor keeps job

PUBLISHED: 18:35 24 September 2008 | UPDATED: 15:23 25 August 2010

EXTENDED BREAK:Danny Thorpe.

EXTENDED BREAK:Danny Thorpe.

EXCLUSIVE

A COUNCILLOR on a marginal seat narrowly escaped being ejected from office for having a five-and-a-half month trip to Australia.

EXCLUSIVE

A COUNCILLOR on a marginal seat narrowly escaped being ejected from office for having a five-and-a-half month trip to Australia.

Labour councillor for Shooters Hill, Danny Thorpe would have been thrown off Greenwich council if he missed six months of council meetings.

But the council scheduled an 'extra' meeting last Tuesday, just NINE days before his ejection date. In May, it had rejected scheduling a September meeting.

This month's meeting was held to agree the Community Safety Plan, which is usually done before the summer recess but the council said it was not ready then.

Conservative Leader of the Opposition, Spencer Drury, said: "The only person who benefited from the September council meeting seems to me, to have been Councillor Thorpe, as it achieved little else. He would have been thrown off the council without the meeting being called. His attendance saved a by-election in Shooters Hill - a marginal ward in a marginal constituency. It seems to me that this is a strange coincidence."

Before this month's meeting, that was scheduled on August 19, Mr Thorpe had last attended council on March 27.

A spokesman for Greenwich council admitted full council meetings are usually held later in the month and on a Wednesday but said they couldn't hold one on the night before the Plumstead by-election.

The spokesman added: "Danny knew the rules and went off with every intention of coming back in time to remain a councillor and that was what he did.

"Before doing so he agreed with his co-ward councillors that they would cover his ward duties; he stood down as chair of the Children and Young People's Overview and Scrutiny Committee and wrote to finance to ask for his allowance to be stopped while he was away.

"He resigned from his job and went on a planned extended break."

It is believed Mr Thorpe returned to Australia last Thursday, two days after the meeting. He was unavailable for comment as the Times went to press.

marina.soteriou@archant.co.uk

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