Monday, 19 October 2009


Well, it's taken a considerable amount of time, but Thanet District Council have decided to pull their fingers out today (Oct 19) and have finally advertised a vacancy for a councillor in Dane Valley Ward. The fact that TDC have done this officially recognizes the permanent absence of Stephen 'Panama Man' Broadhurst – Dane Valley's previous councillor – after he went AWOL and left his constituents up a creek without a paddle.

I'm not pretending to be an expert on the whole affair, but putting it simply, if we're hoping that our elected representatives in the council should remain accountable to us, then the strange story of Conservative Cllr Stephen Broadhurst should forever remain in etched in our memories. The people of Dane Valley Ward have quite rightly been outraged for a long time that their former councillor (who, lest we forget, should've been representing the interests of his constituents) spent far more time tending to his business interests in Panama than he did fulfilling his responsibilities at home.

Labour Group Leader Cllr. Clive Hart tried to get the ball rolling on this subject back in July, prompting Cllr. Ezekiel to respond saying: “If and when it should become a problem, I'll ask him for his resignation.” The following month, Conservative Deputy leader Cllr. Roger Latchford contacted Clive to tell him that Cllr. Broadhurst will be resigning but “the resignation letter may take a little time; it's got to come by snail mail from Panama.”

Sure enough, with shell in tow, a resignation letter did finally arrive in early September, but absurdly it was ruled ineffective by Thanet District Council due to the fact that it wasn't signed by Cllr. Broadhurst himself. Who the hell did sign it? A snail?! Tonight, I've received an e-mail from Clive informing me that a second resignation letter has since been received – I'm assuming with a proper signature this time – and this is probably what has facilitated Thanet District Council's announcement of a vacancy today (Oct 19).

Funnily enough, I remember reading in the paper last week that if an official resignation hadn't been received by Cllr. Broadhurst, it would've been six months that he hadn't attended any Council meetings in a few days time, so he could've legitimately faced being dismissed (or sacked) by TDC. Snail mail or otherwise, it seems this second resignation letter has been received just in the nick of time, though in my opinion Cllr. Broadhurst's reputation is arguably in tatters as a result of his whole charade. Let's be hopeful that we can't anticipate any future forays into politics from him, eh?

Doubtlessly, TDC's announcement is a victory that I'm sure the long-suffering residents of Dane Valley Ward will relish with some delight. It's been a long hard struggle, but at least some progress has finally been made, it's just a shame it's taken such a bloody long time. But at least now we can officially look forward to a by-election, of whom I believe the prospective candidates will be: Ingrid Spencer (Conservatives), Wendy Allen (Independent), Sandra Hart (Labour) and Bill Furness (Lib Dems). I will write more on each of the candidates and their manifestos in the near future.

In the meantime, Cllr. Clive Hart has called for an investigation into Cllr. Broadhurst's behaviour, stating: “With the current feeling in the country as a whole regarding MP's and their expenses, I demand a full enquiry into Councillor Stephen Broadhurst, his actual home/residence during his years as a councillor at TDC and up to what point his allowance will or is being paid by TDC.” In my view, Cllr. Broadhurst's farcical disappearances on a business jolly to Panama every five minutes makes a mockery of everyone who'd entrusted him with the responsibility of being an elected representative. If Cllr. Broadhurst needed to lord it up in Panama so badly, why did he even bother campaigning to get elected in the first place? Or, if he found it difficult to juggle his business interests with his role as a councillor, why didn't he just resign his post long before his councillorship became the butt of all jokes?

It's completely reprehensible, so it's hard not to agree with Cllr. Clive Hart's call for an investigation, but I'm still bewildered as to why it's dragged on for so long. But I suppose all we can try and be sure of is that this kind of thing is prevented from happening again, so if an investigation can yield some productive results on this front, then I welcome it. Until then, let's crack open a beer and celebrate the news. Speaking of beer, if Cllr. Broadhurst were a beer, which type of beer would he be? I say Carlsberg - but, in this instance, I'm sure the Danes are glad to to see him leave.

1 comment:

  1. im awaiting a sorry to thanet people ? i feel i will be waiting a long time, this man left thanet for panama with our towns money, but gave gifts to his friends and workers, yes you guessed it panama hats !!! wow i give him 10/10 for great humour, does anyone remember ronnie bigs wearing a toy british police hat and laughing at brith authority ? as the kids would say nuff said !