New councillor walks away after two weeks

Farington East councillor Jonathon Woodcock
Farington East councillor Jonathon Woodcock
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  • One of Leyland’s newest councillors has been offered a job in London
  • Labour’s Jonathan Woodcock has turned down his Farington parish council position
  • However, he says he can still carry out South Ribble Borough Council duties

One of Leyland’s newly-elected councillors has turned down his seat after being offered a job in London.

Labour’s Jonathan Woodcock was elected on to Farington Parish Council earlier this month, as well as South Ribble Council, representing Farington East.

But just two weeks after being elected, he had declined the voluntary parish position.

He insists he will still be able to do a good job as a borough councillor though, so is keeping that role.

Coun Woodcock, from Lever House Lane, said: “I’ve been offered a temporary contract with British Airways in London. I had been job hunting in Leyland for a good six months, but with no joy.

“I couldn’t turn the work down, but I’m acutely aware that I’ve been elected to represent the residents of Farington at the council, and I do plan to carry out my duties in the normal way at borough level.

“I knew I wouldn’t be able to fulfil the parish duties, and I didn’t want to disappoint anyone, so I’ve turned that down.

“But British Airways have been very supportive and because it’s a public duty, they said they will release me for whatever might be needed at the borough council, such as attending meetings.

“I’ll be back most weekends as well and I’m still very committed to the role and still have a house in Farington.

“It was a case of either I travel a lot, or I don’t fulfil my duties, so it wasn’t a difficult decision to make.

“It all happened just before the elections, but I have to go where the work takes me. I don’t think that is unreasonable.

“Once the six-month contract is up, we’ll see what happens, but I am keen to do the best I can as a councillor.”

Clerk at Farington Parish Council Sue Whittam said: “If someone is working away from the parish, it would be very difficult to carry out their duties from outside of the area.

“I think Jonathan’s made the right decision, as sad as it may be.

“We want people to be actively involved and if someone doesn’t attend six monthly meetings, they are excluded.

“We are grateful he let us know early on so we can start the process of filling the vacancy.

“We will advertise to see if people want another election, and if not, we’ll ask those who are interested in the position to come to our next meeting, and we’ll do a ballot.”

Coun Woodcock’s fellow Farington East borough councillor, Tory Paul Wharton, who failed to retain a seat on the parish council in this month’s local elections, said: “How can you represent the residents of Farington when you’re hundreds of miles away? I don’t understand why he would stand for election.”