Flint councillor petition not personal, says organiser

Published date: 08 April 2014 |
Published by: Owen Evans 
Read more articles by Owen Evans  Email reporter


A MAN who launched a petition calling for a Yorkshire-based Flintshire councillor to resign over his low attendance has hit back at claims it is a personal attack.

Nathan Griffiths said he was shocked to read comments from Flintshire Council’s Labour group claiming his petition calling on Flint Trelawny councillor Trefor Howorth to resign was personally or politically motivated.

Mr Griffiths’ petition stated the attendance record of the Labour councillor, who lives in Bradford, was so poor he should stand down.

Last week, Cllr Howorth’s Labour colleague and Flintshire Council leader Aaron Shotton, called the petition a “vilification of a man who has served the people of Flint for nearly 40 years”.

He branded it distasteful, given Cllr Howorth’s personal circumstances surrounding the death of his wife.

Cllr Shotton said the petition was timed to coincide with a by-election being held in the town on Thursday to fill the seat of late Labour councillor Ted Evans.

Cllr Howorth expressed his belief the petition, signed by more than 140 people, was politically motivated.

But Mr Griffiths said: “I think it's a disgrace some councillors have taken this as personal.

“This petition was for the interest and benefit of Flint and Flintshire – for what we feel we deserve and for what is right for the town.

“This petition was concerning the last couple of years. Yes, he may have been a good councillor in the past, but over the last two or three years the town and county have been let down by his attendance.”

Flint resident Geraldine Lever, who highlighted the issue on a Flint community website before the petition was launched, said she was “gobsmacked” to read the comments.

Mrs Lever, who described herself as a lifelong Labour voter, said: “I didn’t even know about this by-election.

“I don’t follow politics, all I saw was this councillor that doesn’t live in the area. It is not a personal thing against the man. I am speechless.”

The petition cited Cllr Howorth’s attendance record at council meetings since March 2012 being just 28 per cent. In the last six months he has attended only one of the seven scheduled full council meetings in Mold.

Cllr Howorth moved to Bradford after his wife Margaret died from cancer in 2012. He told the Leader he felt there was political motivation behind the petition.

Cllr Howorth said: “Ninety per cent of the time, local government politics is people working together and 10 per cent of the time when we get near elections it gets nasty and it’s a fact of life people can get nasty.

“It is political and it is very, very sad  this has happened, but that’s life.

“I have worked with people of all political parties on very friendly terms and I have never suffered personal attacks before.”

It has since been announced Cllr Howorth is expected to resign in the near-future.

The petition was started on the website. It said Cllr Howorth “rarely attends meetings and doesn’t even live within the county”.

Out of 40 scheduled meetings since March 2011, Cllr Howorth has been present at 11.

While he was a member of the corporate resources overview and scrutiny committee, between July 2012 and January 2013, he did not attend any of its 16 meetings.

On the council website, his address is recorded as c/o Flint Town Hall.

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