Douglas Borough Council must respond to the statement issued by the Department of Infrastructure on the 23rd July 2015.
On the 20th July 2015 Douglas Borough Council became aware that Jonathan Joughin, a councillor duly elected for Victoria Ward, had ceased to be on the register of electors.
Douglas Borough Council consulted with its advocates and it was advised that the relevant provisions of the Local Elections Act 1986 were absolutely clear and that a person had to be on the register of electors both to be qualified for election and to be
qualified to be a member of the Council.
The Local Elections Act 1986 states:
“6. Qualifications for election and holding office as member of local authority
A person shall, unless disqualified by virtue of this Act or any other enactment, be qualified to be elected and to be a member of a local authority for any district if his name is entered on the register of electors for that or any other district and on the day of the election he has attained the age of 18.”
Mr Joughin, no longer being on the register of electors, was advised regretfully that he was no longer qualified to be a councillor and that his seat was accordingly vacated.
Douglas Borough Council notes the statement by the Department that it intends to introduce revising legislation and welcomes the introduction of such legislation.
Douglas Borough Council also notes the Department’s statement that it hopes that local authorities will take a pragmatic and practical approach to the interpretation of the relevant legislation and indeed has done so. It would be quite wrong for Douglas Borough Council to allow an individual who was no longer qualified to be a councillor to take part in Council meetings and to vote on important issues with the knowledge that that person was no longer qualified to be a councillor and that any decisions taken or votes made by that person could be open to challenge.
Douglas Borough Council very much regrets the loss of a well respected councillor but is very conscious that it must comply with the law of the land as determined by Tynwald.
Miss K J Rice,
Douglas Borough Council.