Yesterday the Ealing Conservative Group (of councillors) issued a press release pointing out that Ealing Southall MP, Virendra Sharma, has only got two weeks to attend a meeting before he gets chucked out of the council for not attending meetings. They say:
Cllr Virendra Sharma MP is just 14 days away from being forcibly ejected from the Council for non-attendance.
The Ealing Southall MP has attended just five minutes of one Council meeting during the eight months he has been a Member of Parliament.* Despite his failure to attend Council meetings he has continued to claim his £9,000 councillors’ allowance.
The last meeting he attended (in part) was Full Council on 9 October last year. He now has just two weeks – until 9 April – before he disqualifies himself from sitting on the Council. Ealing’s constitution says that any Member who does not attend a meeting for six months automatically ceases to be a councillor.
*Cllr Sharma has not attended the following Council meetings that he was scheduled to attend since his election to Parliament on 19 July 2007: Southall Area Committee on 19 September 2007, 27 November 2007 and 23 January 2008; Transport and Environment Scrutiny panel on 17 October 2007, 19 December 2007, 30 January 2008 and 13 March 2008; Full Council on 11 December 2007, 19 February 2008 and 4 March 2008; Planning on 17 October 2007 and 30 January 2008.
Sharma has been claiming his £9,000 a year basic allowance for being a councillor but the only thing he has turned up for was a few minutes of a council meeting on 9th October. He was an hour late and only stayed for a few minutes.
If you look at the council’s meetings programme there is not much going on over the next couple of weeks. The only thing for the rest of this month is the Adoption panel on 31st March. It would be pretty inappropriate for him to turn up there to claim his £9,000. The next week there is the Cabinet meeting and two scrutiny panels. As well as having no reason to be there Sharma will know that he will get a lots of stick from Conservative members if he turns up there. I guess that leaves the Shadow Cabinet meeting on 7th April. If he only turns up here for a few minutes he can stay on as a councillor for another six months without lifting a finger and pick up another £4,500 of allowances. Maybe a few people will turn up at Shadow Cabinet for once to give him a bit of a welcome.