Cosham councillor removed from Portsmouth council for not attending meetings

A COUNCILLOR who has not attended any meetings for months due to ill health has been removed from Portsmouth City Council.

Tuesday, 26th March 2019, 3:56 pm
Updated Tuesday, 26th March 2019, 4:01 pm
Jim Fleming at an EU hustings at 1000 Lakeside, ahead of the EU referendum in 2016.. A panel of political experts and enthusiasts were taking questions from the public and making their case for whether Britain should stay or leave the EU. Picture: Sarah Standing (160811-2270)
Jim Fleming at an EU hustings at 1000 Lakeside, ahead of the EU referendum in 2016.. A panel of political experts and enthusiasts were taking questions from the public and making their case for whether Britain should stay or leave the EU. Picture: Sarah Standing (160811-2270)

Jim Fleming was elected to represent Cosham ward in 2016 and was due for re-election next year.

In November last year councillors discussed for an hour and 15 minutes giving him a reprieve for previous non-attendance. The debate was not open to the public.

At full council they agreed to give him until midnight on March 20 to attend a meeting or he would be removed from his elected position.

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In an e-mail to Mr Fleming, seen by The News, deputy chief executive Michael Lawther said: ‘I am writing to advise you that as you did not attend a council meeting before midnight on March 20, 2019 you have ceased to be a councillor from that date.

‘Consequently, David Williams as the returning officer has declared a vacancy under Section 86 of the Local Government Act 1972, in the office of city councillor for Cosham ward and a date for the election has been set for Thursday, May 2 to coincide with the city council elections on that date.’

Mr Fleming said he brought ‘lots of good ideas' to the council but is now ‘safer and happier’ having left the authority.

He served as cabinet member for traffic under Councillor Donna Jones, leader of the Conservative opposition group on the council, when she led the authority.

Mr Fleming quit the Conservative Party last year and had served as an independent.

Cllr Jones said: ‘After a period of absence from PCC, in November 2018 Cllr James Fleming was awarded an extension of time by the councillors to give him another four months to attend a meeting.

‘On March 19 that period of extension expired and the next day the chief executive called a by-election for Cosham.

‘It is always a disappointing situation when an elected representative is unable to full fill their term or office. I wish James Fleming all the best for the future.’