MP Gillian Keegan expected to resign as district councillor

Chichester MP Gillian Keegan (photo from Parliament website) SUS-170111-164429001
Chichester MP Gillian Keegan (photo from Parliament website) SUS-170111-164429001

Chichester MP Gillian Keegan has said she hopes to resign as a district councillor ‘very shortly’.

The former cabinet member at Chichester District Council told the Observer she had been waiting for an alternative councillor to be found for her ward with a window from today until the start of March to step down.

She said it was ‘bizarre’ the timing coincided with questions about her district council attendance record, which she acknowledged had dropped to nearly nothing since she was elected.

She said: “I’ve been physically unable to get to meetings. There’s not the technology to dial in, I’ve asked about that.

“Instead I have regular meetings with the people at the council, Diane [Shepherd] and Tony [Dignum] and just had phone calls.

“I’ve got emails from the parish council chairmans to get anything specific, but to be honest the same issues come to me as an MP as in Chi.”

Laws governing councillors require attendance at least one meeting every six months but the main meetings for Chichester District Council are held at the start of the week, when cllr Keegan is on a three-line whip to be in parliament.

Cllr Keegan said she ‘had to get up at the crack of dawn’ to attend a meeting in January in the public gallery, five and a half months after the last full council she could attend in July.

Now she said it looked like the Conservative Party had finally found an alternative prospective councillor for her ward in Rogate, for which she was the sole candidate in the last district election.

She said: “Since the election day as an MP I haven’t taken any allowance or stipend at all.

“I also resigned immediately from the cabinet role that I had.

“I’ve been waiting for them to find an alternative person. When I stood for Rogate [ward] I was the only person in Rogate.

“It looks like they’ve done that.”

She added that residents regularly contacted her with issues via email or her mobile number.

“They feel they have had an upgrade and now I’m an MP, I can do more,” she said.