Thursday, September 13, 2007

Cllr Capstick Resigns

After two months of pressure from Southwark's Labour Group and internal divisions within her own group on the subject, Cllr Denise Capstick, the Executive Member for Health and Adult Social Care, announced her resignation at the start of last night's Council Assembly following her conviction for drink driving in July. It is the right thing for her to have done and it is only disappointing that it has taken her such a long time, and the prospect of losing a vote calling on her to resign, for her to reach this inevitable decision.

Although Cllr Capstick has not been at her best with regard to this whole incident, the real failure lies with Council Leader Nick Stanton. It was he who said that he had "not considered for a minute" that she should resign, and sought to downplay her conviction on the basis that she had not crashed and no one had been injured. As I have spoken to people across Southwark about this incident, it is the words and actions of Cllr Stanton which have attracted the most anger. And I am informed that his Party Leaders at LibDem HQ have been far from impressed with his handling of Cllr Capstick's case - believing that he should have asked her to resign immediately.

It is not often that it is possible to highlight a clear decision made by a Council Leader and judge the merits of that decision. Normally decisions are taken by committees or larger bodies. But in this case we have been able to see Cllr Stanton's decision and consider his judgement. He has clearly failed to demonstrate leadership or judgement, and despite his best efforts Cllr Capstick has been forced from her job. I imagine that there are a number of LibDem councillors today who are wondering whether they are going to survive electorally in Southwark if they have to rely for much longer on the leadership and judgement of Cllr Stanton.


Max said...

It is with interest that I read here of Lib Dem Councillor who has resigned due to a drink driving conviction.

Would it be fair to say that any Councillor, convicted of such an offence, should resign?

Residents in the Borough of Knowsley are flabbergasted that Cllr Mike Kearns is refusing to resign and the Labour Party is refusing to expel him after he was convicted of drink driving in August.

The Council solicitor (who should remain neutral) states "he has not done anything wrong"

What would your opinion be, as a Labour Councillor?

Peter John said...

Cllr Capstick has only resigned from her Executive position where she was responsible for the borough's health, and particularly its alcohol policy. She has not resigned as a councillor.

At the present time it appears that the Standards Board is not able to take any actions in cases such as these and so any advice concerning a breach of your local Code of Conduct would be correct.

Ultimately it will be a matter for Knowsley's Labour Group to decide what, if any, action to take in the case you refer to. And it is also obviously a matter for the local councillor concerned.

I take a fairly hard line on matters such as these, and beleive that it is important that councillors do not appear to be equivocal in condemning drink driving.