‘They can shove it. I’ll not stand’ Dep Mayor

Rasen's deputy mayor Martin Harvey EMN-140905-154522001
Rasen's deputy mayor Martin Harvey EMN-140905-154522001

Market Rasen’s deputy mayor threatened not to stand for re-election after hearing candidates must travel to Gainsborough with their nomination papers.

Coun Martin Harvey made the threat minutes before the start of last week’s town council meeting as the papers were distributed to members.

“If we can’t walk next door, they can shove it. I’m not going to drive to Gainsborough,” he said.

Previously, councillors could hand in their nomination papers to West Lindsey’s Rasen office at Festival Hall.

“They can shove it. I’ll not stand,” Coun Harvey continued. “I’m not going (to Gainsborough). I think it’s a waste of time and money.”

When the issue came up officially during the meeting, Mayor John Matthews agreed with him.

Town and district councillor Ken Bridger said it would lead to at least 170 parish and town councillors having to travel to Gainsborough. Earlier, he said he would “have a word” with West Lindsey’s returning officer about the issue.

Coun Carol Skye quipped all these trips would have an environmental impact, with carbon emissions. “That might sway them slightly,” she said.

However, West Lindsey District Council told the Rasen Mail election candidates need not hand in their papers in person and can let someone else do it for them.

“The nominations can be signed at home, at the Rasen office or anywhere, but delivering it can be by anyone. If I was in Rasen for example and there were multiple nominations to deliver, I could bring them back with me,” said a council spokesman.

“The Electoral Commission insists on hand delivery, which avoids nominations from getting lost in the post or by delivery companies. If nominees have problems or objections to this, we are referring them to the Electoral Commission.”

On hearing this, Coun Harvey said if one person could deliver all the papers, that was fine and he would stand again, though he still couldn’t see why someone had to travel to Gainsborough.

The row came as Market Rasen Town Council launched an appeal for candidates, especially as 1-2 older councillors are expected to stand down.

Nomination papers must be delivered to the Guildhall by April 9, though WLDC advises they be delivered a couple of days before this to give time to correct any errors.