After a very poor attendance record at Council meetings over the past six months (he attended one Community Council meeting for 10 minutes in October) Paul Baichoo has resigned as a LibDem councillor in Riverside Ward. Paul has cited health reasons for his decision to quit, although according to local newspaper Southwark News, this appears to be at odds with other reports of his attending nightclubs and partying in Ibiza. I hope that Paul's current health worries are unfounded. Paul was clearly not comfortable with his council membership, and for some time had appeared to be disillusioned with the LibDem/Tory Executive - he voted against his party at a Council Assembly meeting at the start of the year. However, he has not worked hard for his constituents for some time and he has done the right thing in resigning.
This means a by-election in Riverside Ward on December 13th. Labour's candidate is likely to be Cormac Hollingsworth. Cormac lives in the ward and has been working tirelessly for people living there for a number of years. Issues concerning anti-social behaviour on the Four Squares Estate and the prospect of lap-dancing clubs on Tooley Street have only been brought to public attention through the work which Cormac has put in. If the people of Riverside Ward want a councillor who will actually represent them, they need look no further than Cormac! They certainly deserve some full-time representation.
I have no doubt that Simon Hughes and Nick Stanton will try and parachute in some other acolyte of theirs, but the Paul Baichoo experience will surely leave Riverside Ward residents wondering whether another Hughes/Stanton stooge is the best they can do.
A Labour win on December 13th will seriously undermine the ruling Tory/LibDem coalition and put a question mark over whether the they can continue in office all the way to 2010.