Call for councillor to step down because he has flat 80 miles away from his ward

The Bolton News: Cllr Sean Harkin lives in Westhoughton Cllr Sean Harkin lives in Westhoughton

CALLS have been made for a councillor to step down — because he spends part of the week living 80 miles away from the ward he represents.

Cllr Sean Harkin spends some time living in Dalton-in-Furness in Cumbria because of his job as a solicitor.

He said his time is split between Dalton and his ward of Westhoughton North and Chew Moor.

Cllr Harkin insisted he is always available by phone and email and that he has only missed one council meeting since he was elected in 2012.

But fellow ward councillor Martyn Cox believes that Cllr Harkin should “do the decent thing” and step aside, surrendering his £11,000 council allowance.

Cllr Cox, who is standing for re-election for the Conservatives tomorrow, added: “I don’t really like it when politics gets personal, but I think it is a prerequisite that to stand in a ward you should either live there or have a business there.

“Voters will usually accept if you live fairly near to the ward, but what they won’t accept is living more than 70 miles away.

“Sean is a nice young lad and he is trying to pursue a career, but I just think he should stop claiming his allowance and stand down at the first possible opportunity. This kind of thing makes the public furious and gives politicians a bad name.”

Joining the criticism of the Labour councillor is Liberal Democrat David Wilkinson, who sits on Westhoughton Town Council and is standing for the Westhoughton South seat.

He said: “The issue is about being a Bolton councillor and the issue around the £11,000 allowance — which is more than many people in Bolton earn themselves. You’re being paid to do a job and you can’t have this situation where you live a good distance away.”

Cllr Harkin has dismissed the calls, saying that he does live in his ward and is registered to vote there.

He added: “My work is in Lancaster, Kendal and Barrow. In the first two cases, I commute from my house in Westhoughton. It is only when I have to work in Barrow that I live in a flat which I rent in Dalton.

“I think my record of attendance at council meetings shows I am able to do the job and I am always easily contactable by phone or email.

"I would say it is something of a coincidence that this issue has been raised just before the elections.”

In April, former Horwich and Blackrod councillor Lindsey Kell stepped down because she said her work commitments took her out of the borough.

Cllr Harkin said his position was “completely different” to that of Ms Kell, who was living 175 miles away in Oxfordshire.

Comments (13)

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9:27am Wed 21 May 14

Jim271 says...

Show your contempt for these people who are milking the system and have the nerve to blame all the countries problems on the disabled and unemployed,

Vote UKIP, its the only way to punish them.

(note, I am not a UKIP supporter, its a protest vote because there's no Monster Raving Looney Party available and the Green party wont even make a dent)
Show your contempt for these people who are milking the system and have the nerve to blame all the countries problems on the disabled and unemployed, Vote UKIP, its the only way to punish them. (note, I am not a UKIP supporter, its a protest vote because there's no Monster Raving Looney Party available and the Green party wont even make a dent) Jim271
  • Score: 0

10:37am Wed 21 May 14

thomas222 says...

Kettle black. What about Tory & Labour MPs parachuted into areas they know nothing about then.
Kettle black. What about Tory & Labour MPs parachuted into areas they know nothing about then. thomas222
  • Score: 8

11:32am Wed 21 May 14

BoltonNick says...

thomas222 wrote:
Kettle black. What about Tory & Labour MPs parachuted into areas they know nothing about then.
But we are talking councillors and not MP's as it its basically normal, nowadays to have MP's from outside the area they represent!

As it is, if you had read the report, he has a house, and it is registered as his primary location, in Westhoughton, but only rents an apartment when he has to work in Cumbria!

Therefore I see nothing wrong, whatsoever, in what he does - how many professionals have two abode's - family and where they work. Lets not forget MP's, as you brought it up, who also have apartments near Westminster and their primary location which may or may not be in their constituency..

This is different from the Lindsey Kell farce due to the fact she didn't even rent a property in her ward and missed quite a few council meetings because of the near 200 mile drive up (or 400 mile round trip)
[quote][p][bold]thomas222[/bold] wrote: Kettle black. What about Tory & Labour MPs parachuted into areas they know nothing about then.[/p][/quote]But we are talking councillors and not MP's as it its basically normal, nowadays to have MP's from outside the area they represent! As it is, if you had read the report, he has a house, and it is registered as his primary location, in Westhoughton, but only rents an apartment when he has to work in Cumbria! Therefore I see nothing wrong, whatsoever, in what he does - how many professionals have two abode's - family and where they work. Lets not forget MP's, as you brought it up, who also have apartments near Westminster and their primary location which may or may not be in their constituency.. This is different from the Lindsey Kell farce due to the fact she didn't even rent a property in her ward and missed quite a few council meetings because of the near 200 mile drive up (or 400 mile round trip) BoltonNick
  • Score: -1

11:35am Wed 21 May 14

Waltmeister says...

If Martyn Cox doesn't like politcs getting personal then why bring the issue up. How many people who live in Westhoughton actually work in the town, very few. You can see that with the traffic jams in Park Road and Snydle Way at 5 o'clock with people trying to get home. Cox and Wilkinson should concentrate on working for the town and vetoing the two proposed large housing developments in the town. Petty comments from Cox and Wilkinson on election eve will be reflected in the polling booths.
If Martyn Cox doesn't like politcs getting personal then why bring the issue up. How many people who live in Westhoughton actually work in the town, very few. You can see that with the traffic jams in Park Road and Snydle Way at 5 o'clock with people trying to get home. Cox and Wilkinson should concentrate on working for the town and vetoing the two proposed large housing developments in the town. Petty comments from Cox and Wilkinson on election eve will be reflected in the polling booths. Waltmeister
  • Score: 12

12:00pm Wed 21 May 14

thomas222 says...

BoltonNick wrote:
thomas222 wrote:
Kettle black. What about Tory & Labour MPs parachuted into areas they know nothing about then.
But we are talking councillors and not MP's as it its basically normal, nowadays to have MP's from outside the area they represent!

As it is, if you had read the report, he has a house, and it is registered as his primary location, in Westhoughton, but only rents an apartment when he has to work in Cumbria!

Therefore I see nothing wrong, whatsoever, in what he does - how many professionals have two abode's - family and where they work. Lets not forget MP's, as you brought it up, who also have apartments near Westminster and their primary location which may or may not be in their constituency..

This is different from the Lindsey Kell farce due to the fact she didn't even rent a property in her ward and missed quite a few council meetings because of the near 200 mile drive up (or 400 mile round trip)
Who are you voting for ?
[quote][p][bold]BoltonNick[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]thomas222[/bold] wrote: Kettle black. What about Tory & Labour MPs parachuted into areas they know nothing about then.[/p][/quote]But we are talking councillors and not MP's as it its basically normal, nowadays to have MP's from outside the area they represent! As it is, if you had read the report, he has a house, and it is registered as his primary location, in Westhoughton, but only rents an apartment when he has to work in Cumbria! Therefore I see nothing wrong, whatsoever, in what he does - how many professionals have two abode's - family and where they work. Lets not forget MP's, as you brought it up, who also have apartments near Westminster and their primary location which may or may not be in their constituency.. This is different from the Lindsey Kell farce due to the fact she didn't even rent a property in her ward and missed quite a few council meetings because of the near 200 mile drive up (or 400 mile round trip)[/p][/quote]Who are you voting for ? thomas222
  • Score: -4

1:17pm Wed 21 May 14

Bolton Lad 85 says...

Story over nothing. The Lib Dem guy thinks 11k is more than many people in Bolton earn. Well who's fault is that you really have to be worthless in the job market to earn less than 11k and impossible working full time.
Story over nothing. The Lib Dem guy thinks 11k is more than many people in Bolton earn. Well who's fault is that you really have to be worthless in the job market to earn less than 11k and impossible working full time. Bolton Lad 85
  • Score: -3

2:15pm Wed 21 May 14

Donkey Stone says...

Is he the son of Guy Harkin. The space cadet who wanted to change the name of the town to Bolton-le-Moors.
Is he the son of Guy Harkin. The space cadet who wanted to change the name of the town to Bolton-le-Moors. Donkey Stone
  • Score: 5

2:52pm Wed 21 May 14

Gore Seer says...

I Thought These Counselors Work Part Anyway 3 Days A Week?.
I Thought These Counselors Work Part Anyway 3 Days A Week?. Gore Seer
  • Score: 0

5:20pm Wed 21 May 14

Valiant One says...

Donkey Stone wrote:
Is he the son of Guy Harkin. The space cadet who wanted to change the name of the town to Bolton-le-Moors.
Bolton le Moors is the historic name for the town
Not a new one. Think it's rather nice.
[quote][p][bold]Donkey Stone[/bold] wrote: Is he the son of Guy Harkin. The space cadet who wanted to change the name of the town to Bolton-le-Moors.[/p][/quote]Bolton le Moors is the historic name for the town Not a new one. Think it's rather nice. Valiant One
  • Score: 4

5:55pm Wed 21 May 14

Randolf Litler !!! says...

UKIP :-)
UKIP :-) Randolf Litler !!!
  • Score: -2

7:23pm Wed 21 May 14

holloway_david says...

The reporter of this article needs to review his work before publishing.
The said councillor is either Conservative or Labour; look again at what you have written.
The reporter of this article needs to review his work before publishing. The said councillor is either Conservative or Labour; look again at what you have written. holloway_david
  • Score: 1

7:51pm Wed 21 May 14

holloway_david says...

Truth Will Not Be Silenced wrote:
Thomas,

(before you ask I asked for my username to be changed to this from BoltonNick)

I see you haven't done your weekly comment on the polls and advising on how well UKIP are doing.

Is it because UKIP have dropped 13points and are currently running behind labour who are now 5 points clear and The Conservatives are only 2 points behind UKIP, whilst The Greens have taken the majority of UKIP's losses!!!

Fpr those wanting to know the full truth of what UKIP stand for before making a decision, tomorrow then join this facebook group - (UKIP - Exposed)

https://www.facebook

.com/groups/72940543

0414806/?fref=ts
Three votes from my family for UKIP. both local and European.
If your so confident in the polls, why even post your comments and as far as Facebook is concerned are they not losing their appeal as with the three major parties; lets face it ( excuse the pun) what has Labour, Conservative, Lib Dem done in the help of anybody. If you are trying scare tactics over UKIP then you need to apply the same logic to the other parties.
[quote][p][bold]Truth Will Not Be Silenced[/bold] wrote: Thomas, (before you ask I asked for my username to be changed to this from BoltonNick) I see you haven't done your weekly comment on the polls and advising on how well UKIP are doing. Is it because UKIP have dropped 13points and are currently running behind labour who are now 5 points clear and The Conservatives are only 2 points behind UKIP, whilst The Greens have taken the majority of UKIP's losses!!! Fpr those wanting to know the full truth of what UKIP stand for before making a decision, tomorrow then join this facebook group - (UKIP - Exposed) https://www.facebook .com/groups/72940543 0414806/?fref=ts[/p][/quote]Three votes from my family for UKIP. both local and European. If your so confident in the polls, why even post your comments and as far as Facebook is concerned are they not losing their appeal as with the three major parties; lets face it ( excuse the pun) what has Labour, Conservative, Lib Dem done in the help of anybody. If you are trying scare tactics over UKIP then you need to apply the same logic to the other parties. holloway_david
  • Score: 3

11:44pm Wed 21 May 14

cassabella says...

Cllr Harkin wasnt concerned about the train services to manchester from westhoughton so wont be getting my vote, just dont see anyone wanting to develop westhoughton town centre or amenities they only appear to want to allow more houses and no further infrastructure, even the market is poor, wasted space behind the scenes, thank god we still have a library, seems like westhoughton has lost its identity and is losing it more and more
Cllr Harkin wasnt concerned about the train services to manchester from westhoughton so wont be getting my vote, just dont see anyone wanting to develop westhoughton town centre or amenities they only appear to want to allow more houses and no further infrastructure, even the market is poor, wasted space behind the scenes, thank god we still have a library, seems like westhoughton has lost its identity and is losing it more and more cassabella
  • Score: 5

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