“The situation raised at Handforth Parish Council is depressingly familiar to us.”
Labour councillors Jo Dale and Julia Hawkins have resigned from Alsager Town Council.
In a joint letter published on social media, the pair explained their reasons, citing their concerns regarding “a serious safeguarding issue” at the council.
They added that that they can “no longer morally remain as councillors” as a result of the incident.
Dale and Hawkins claim that despite the issue being reported it was only partially investigated, with no further action taken.
We have asked Alsager Town Council for a response to this claim.
The pair said: “We feel that if we stayed, we would be giving our implicit support for a situation which we know to be ethically wrong.”
They made clear their feelings that Alsager Town Council has been tarnished “due to this ongoing behaviour by many councillors.”
However, they added: “We would like to make it clear that this has not been the case for our Conservative colleagues on the council and working with them has shown how people on opposing ends of the political spectrum can come together to work for the common good.”
They ended the letter by thanking the clerk and council officers, and concluded “integrity comes above political affiliation”.
We have asked Alsager Town Council for a response to the resignations.
The vacancies have already been advertised on the town council website.
The resignation letter in full:
Due to a serious safeguarding issue we can no longer morally remain as councillors on Alsager Town Council.
This serious safeguarding issue was reported relevant organisations and was partially investigated with no further action taken.
However, given our personal knowledge of the situation, and Julia’s professional training and advice sought as a teacher, we cannot continue to be part of the council with the current structure as voted for at the AGM last week.
We feel that if we stayed, we would be giving our implicit support for a situation which we know to be ethically wrong.
We did the right thing by reporting this issue, we are in absolutely no doubt about that and we would do the same again.
Whistle blowers for safeguarding issues should always be protected and not demonised.
However there have been accusations that this allegation was ‘malicious’, ‘politically motivated’ and ‘homophobic’. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Councillors have closed ranks to protect each other on this issue and on other serious bullying concerns raised previously.
All Alsager Town councillors have signed an anti-bullying charter but actions speak louder than a pledge on a piece of paper.
This is not the sort of politics we want to be involved in: the situation raised at Handforth Parish Council is depressingly familiar to us.
In our two years of being councillors, due to some councillors’ poor behaviour (being obstructive, misogynist, bullying and playing petty party politics), we have consequently struggled to achieve the little that we have.
Instead of working together for our town, many of Alsager’s Town councillors are focussed on petty bureaucracy and party political control.
Alsager Town Council is antiquated and not fit for purpose, due to this ongoing behaviour by many councillors.
We would like to make it clear that this has not been the case for our Conservative colleagues on the council and working with them has shown how people on opposing ends of the political spectrum can come together to work for the common good of the community.
We would like to thank Cllr Julian Goodrich, Cllr Jane Hearne and Cllr Sue Helliwell (as well as Labour Cllr Alison Nayling) for their hard work and support during what has been an incredibly difficult time.
We would also like to thank the Town Clerk and all the other council officers: they have remained professional throughout.
Finally, we would like to thank the people of Alsager who put their trust in us to represent them and without whom we wouldn’t have been able to achieve what we did.
We are proud to be Alsager residents and will continue to support our town in any way we can.
We leave with a heavy heart but with our heads held high, knowing we have done the right thing.
Integrity comes above political affiliation.