Willesden councillor fails to give up seat despite moving almost 80 miles away

Vicar now lives in Brighton but continues to represent the Dudden Hill ward

A vicar has been urged by political rivals to give up his councillor role following his move to a church almost 80 miles away.

Cllr Rev David Clues has continued to serve as the only Liberal Democrat councillor in the Dudden Hill ward – even though he moved from St Marys Church in Neasden Lane, Willesden, to St Bartholomew’s Church in Brighton last December.

Until he gives up his seat, Cllr Rev Clues can continue to claim his annual allowance of �7,974 as long as he attends one meeting every six months.

Cllr Reg Colwill, the Conservative councillor for the Kenton ward, said he should be forced to stand down.

He said: “If you take on the job as a councillor to represent your residents you should be able to do it, but how can you do it when you live so many miles away? He should step down.”

The sought-after Dudden Hill ward was previously held exclusively by the Liberal Democrats until the council elections in 2010, when only Cllr Rev Clues managed to keep his seat.

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Unlike the two Labour Dudden Hill councillors, Cllr Rev Clues does not hold scheduled surgeries in his ward and under the current rules he is not obliged to.

But according to his profile on Brent Council’s website, residents are invited to contact him by phone or email so he can make an individual appointment for them.

Cllr Colwill said: “I don’t agree with that. How can you only be contactable on the phone or email? He’s taken a job for which he is being paid and he can’t do it if he lives in Brighton.

‘‘I think his allegiances are forcing him to hang on to the seat for a while. He should be made to resign.”

Speaking to the Times on Tuesday night, Cllr Rev Clues said: “I am living in between my new vicarage and Neasden at the moment. It is a transition period. I’m still on the electoral roll in Brent and do my best to represent the people of Dudden Hill.

“As time goes by things may change. I’m in discussions with the leader of the Liberal Democrat group.

“I’m still available for people to contact and to meet up with and I come back for meetings. My priority is that I represent Dudden Hill to the best of my ability.

“There will be a time when this may become impossible, I know. And if this happens I will stop.”