Mayoral chains row resurfaces in Skegness

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The mayoral chains row, which preceded the Deputy Mayor of Skegness’s resignation from the Labour Party last month, resurfaced at the latest town council meeting.

Two members of the public criticised councillors for arguing over whether Deputy Mayor Coun Jim Carpenter could be pictured wearing the chains in advance of his mayoral year to promote two charities with a poster on a Stagecoach bus.

Rob Curtis, an administrator for the Skegness Skegness Facebook page, felt party politics should go ‘out of the window’ and called on Coun Carpenter to resign after ‘crying home’ following his former Labour colleagues’ negative reaction to the proposal last month.

“I think you ought to resign from that bench and forget about being mayor - you should be the next town crier,’ he said during Wednesday’s public session.

Skegness resident Dell Claxon also said he was ‘disgusted’ at the argument and suggested the whole council should resign, if that was all its members could debate.

Coun Carpenter has since clarified his reasons for resigning and criticised the Mayor of Skegness Coun Mark Anderson for allowing Mr Curtis’s ‘offensive’ comments to go unchecked.

“I was offended by the comments regarding why I had left the Labour Party, if [Mr Curtis] had actually approached me, I could have alerted him to the full circumstances as to why I left,” he said.

“The mayoral chains were only the icing on the cake, the real reason I had left was because I have had issues with the party over the past 12 months - there are have been long-running issues between me and certain members, which in my opinion have never been sorted by the party.

“I was also amazed with the way the meeting had been chaired and the fact that these comments were not stopped.

“I am looking to take over as chair of the council and if that happened I would stop the member of the public talking to any councillor like that - it’s wrong.”

Coun Carpenter’s proposal to be pictured wearing the chains so that Stagecoach could display it on the rear of one of its buses as soon as he takes the position, as is likely to happen next month, won the overall support of his fellow councillors at the previous meeting.

However, two of his former Labour colleagues Coun Anderson and Coun Phil Kemp chose not support the motion.

Coun Kemp feared it set a ‘dangerous precedent’ and Coun Anderson warned that parish councils in other towns and villages served by the bus route could be offended if they saw the adverts passing through their wards.

However, Coun Carpenter has since explained that he raised the suggestion with the other councils and received their full support.

And, as he claims to have seen photographs in which members of the public were wearing the chains in a pub, he remains annoyed that his proposal had been opposed.

“It got to me that members of the public can wear it but the deputy mayor can’t,” he said.