When will we know facts on al­lowances?

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Points Of View -

Po­lit­i­cal Editor Paul Fran­cis

With the con­tro­versy still sim­mer­ing over county coun­cil­lors award­ing them­selves a 15% hike in their al­lowances, it seems nat­u­ral to ask when the au­thor­ity will pub­lish the lat­est year’s fig­ures. Nor­mally, what is known as an­nual state­ment of al­lowances is pub­lished around this time of year – ad­mit­tedly with very lit­tle fan­fare as it is pre­sented to one of those ob­scure com­mit­tees that very few peo­ple know about. (It’s the se­lec­tion and mem­bers ser­vices com­mit­tee, in case you are in­ter­ested.) But it seems that this com­mit­tee is not sched­uled to have a meet­ing un­til Oc­to­ber – un­like pre­vi­ous years. Last year, the an­nual bill was pre­sented to a meet­ing in June and the pre­vi­ous year to a meet­ing even ear­lier – May. Call us con­spir­acy the­o­rists if you must but the de­lay does at the very least look mildly cu­ri­ous.

AMONG the Con­ser­va­tives who ab­stained over the 15% pay hike was Cllr Jeremy Kite, Con­ser­va­tive leader of Dart­ford coun­cil. The party’s rot­tweiler likes to chew up op­po­si­tion coun­cil­lors and spit them out and was the only mem­ber of the Con­ser­va­tive group to say he could not sup­port the plan. That led many to be­lieve that he’d vote against the rec­om­men­da­tion but in the event he joined his fel­low col­leagues in ab­stain­ing.

‘The party’s rot­tweiler likes to chew up op­po­si­tion coun­cil­lors and spit them out’

UKIP’s grip on the only coun­cil in the coun­try it runs – Thanet – has been loos­ened with the de­fec­tion of an­other coun­cil­lor to the Con­ser­va­tives. And there may be bad news to come as it faces an­other tricky by-elec­tion next week which could see it be­com­ing a mi­nor­ity ad­min­is­tra­tion. What may save it from be­ing voted out is that for that to hap­pen, the Con­ser­va­tives would need to team up with Labour to form a joint ad­min­is­tra­tion and oust Ukip. While pol­i­tics is in­creas­ingly tur­bu­lent and un­pre­dictable, such an un­holy al­liance is ex­tremely doubt­ful.

WHAT are the chances of Henry Bolton – the for­mer Ukip crime com­mis­sioner who stood in Kent in 2016 – be­com­ing party leader? Any pre­dic­tions for the out­come are no­to­ri­ously tricky when it comes to Ukip. So, how do the book­ies see it? As things stand he is a 16-1 out­sider – not quite the longest odds but head­ing that way. FOL­LOW Paul on Twit­ter @PaulOnPol­i­tics for all Kent’s po­lit­i­cal news and gos­sip

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