When will we know facts on allowances?
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