Skegness Deputy Mayor resigns from party for 'posing as mayor' before elected
A DEPUTY mayor has resigned from his party following a debate on whether to allow him to be photographed wearing the Mayor's chain before he is elected to the office.
Councillor Jim Carpenter, deputy mayor of Skegness, resigned as a member of Skegness Labour group after hearing some comments made by fellow Labour colleagues about his request at Wednesday's meeting.
Councillor Carpenter put forward a motion to give permission for him to be photographed by Stagecoach in full Mayoral Regalia in advance of the annual council meeting.
From this a vinyl would have been produced to be applied to the rear of a Stagecoach vehicle in support of the incoming Mayor's charity and the town council.
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If the deputy mayor failed to be elected as Mayor, the plan would be abandoned with all costs met by Stagecoach and at no cost to the town council.
The motion was seconded by Conservative councillor Carl Macey.
But some councillors felt the move was disrespectful to the civic role.
Mayor Councillor Mark Anderson said he thought back to previous Mayors such as Ronnie Scott and others who were held in high esteem in the community.
He said: "I can't think for one moment anybody asking them to hand over the Mayoral chain before they have sworn an oath.
"I have seen a decline in civic pride in this town council. I have tasted it and I don't like it one bit.
"Once the community stops respecting us as a town council where would we be?
"My Mayoral year has been awful for personal and other reasons. I do not want to see this go down further and making us as leaders seen to be sliding down a slippery slope."
Councillor Phil Kemp was also against it.
He said: "This has the potential to set a dangerous precedent. When you are Mayor, you have the right to do it but doing it before hand is not the right way to go."
Councillor Steve Kirk said: "I really honour and respect the position of Mayor.
"Posing as Mayor before they are Mayor gives me a bit of difficulty."
Other councillors believed it would be a good way of promoting the Mayor's charities.
Councillor Dick Edginton said it was novel: "It will give the Mayor's charities maximum publicity which will benefit the recipient of the said charity.
"It is important the office of Mayor is respected and held in high regard. I can't see this request undermine or demean the office."
Councillor Neil Cooper explained when he was chairman of Lincolnshire County Council, his successor Robert Palmer, wore the chain for publicity photos ready to be released when he was elected chairman.
He said: "It does not undermine the office of Mayor it solves a logistical nightmare to get this vinyl produced in readiness for potential election on May 9."
Following the debate, councillors voted in favour of the motion allowing the deputy Mayor to be photographed in Mayoral regalia.
SPEAKING after the meeting, Councillor Jim Carpenter, said he had been thinking of leaving the Labour party for a while but the decision was finally made when he didn't get the support of some of his fellow Labour councillors.
He said: "I thought I had the support. I had previously told the Mayor my intention with the motion so I was surprised with the outcome on the night from certain comments made.
"I've made no presumption that I would be voted Mayor. If anything was to go wrong and I was not voted in, the whole thing would have been aborted."
Mr Carpenter, who works for Stagecoach, said this is something his company has done in other parts of the country in support of Mayoral charities.
He added:"The Mayor could have stood there while I had the picture taken in the chain - I do not want the chain before my time."
Mr Carpenter said he will remain serving Skegness Town Council as an independent.
He said: "There have been rumours that I may join the Conservatives but they are totally untrue.
"My job is to serve the people of the town and that can still be done as an independent."