Former county council leader wants to address Fenland Council on ‘complacency’ that saw 12 of the 39 seats uncontested in recent poll
PUBLISHED: 18:18 15 May 2019
Former councillor Martin Curtis who bowed out of politics this month wants to challenge councillors next week on the “complacency” that allowed 12 of the 39 district seats to go uncontested.
Martin Curtis, a one time county council leader and former district councillor, tweeted today that he had asked to speak at next week's full council meeting at Fenland Hall.
"I have sent a request to Fenland Council to speak at full council next week about the elections," he wrote.
"Complacency, which in this case led to hundreds of people turning up to closed polling stations, is one of the reasons democracy is failing in our district."
Earlier this month he announced he would not be contesting a Whittlesey seat either as a parish or district councillor.
"For the first time in two decades, I am not a councillor because I chose not to stand," he tweeted,
"No regrets at all, I stood down after being selected because of conflicts with my Conservative allegiance nationally and, especially, locally."
He also tweeted after the election that the "ex-Conservative independents who succeeded at Fenland Council did so because of a huge national trend; nothing to do with any local issue.
"They were part of the problem and are certainly not part of the solution."
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Prior to the election Fenland Council was reported as having the most number of uncontested seats of any local authority in the country.
Tories took 12 seats without a vote being cast and were guaranteed a further three successes prior to polling day when insufficient opposition candidates were standing in multi candidate wards.
The lack of choice in some towns prompted an angry outburst on social media.
One woman posted to a Whittlesey Facebook group that she had "been to the polling station and it's not set up or open so I'm guessing there is no election to vote for me despite having a polling card.
One helpful resident posted that the Stonald ward where she had hoped to cast her vote was uncontested both for district and parish seats "so therefore no need to go".
Many others complained they had turned up to vote, only to discover the ward was uncontested.
Wisbech councillor Steve Tierney, who was uncontested in his Medworth ward, was surprised to find no one had come forward to oppose him.
"It appears they were all frit, as there's no sign of them," he wrote on his blog. "Or perhaps they are just supportive of the work I do?"
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