Deputy Mayor of Padiham quits in ‘politics’ row

John Cave (s)
John Cave (s)

THE deputy mayor of Padiham, John Cave, has resigned from Padiham Town Council after failing in his bid to have its “non-political” badge written into its constitution.

Padiham Town Council is classed as a non-political organisation but Mr Cave felt that the presence of Burnley borough Labour councillors Jean Cunningham, Andy Tatchell and John Harbour made a mockery of this.

He proposed a motion to have it written into the town council’s standing orders that people with an overt political affiliation, such as the three Labour councillors, should not be allowed to sit.

However, the motion was defeated by 11 votes to two at a meeting on November 21st, prompting Mr Cave to send a letter of resignation to this week’s meeting.

Mr Cave, the husband of Burnley British National Party leader and County Coun. Sharon Wilkinson, was at the centre of controversy earlier this year when he was named deputy mayor.

Some felt his affiliations to the BNP would tarnish the mayoralty, but he refuted this by stating that he did not stand for any political party while sitting on the town council, and did not seek election onto Burnley Borough Council in May.

He said: “Padiham Town Council always stresses its non-political position yet it has three Labour councillors sitting on it. I just felt that their presence on the town council improved their standing when it came to borough council elections. I think it helps them garner more votes.

“I wanted it written into our constitution where people would have to make a choice. There was a big outcry earlier in the year when people thought I would be the first BNP mayor but I do not represent the BNP on Padiham Town Council.

“I did not seek election to Burnley Council because I felt it would have been hypocritical. It would have been an honour to be Mayor of Padiham if I felt the post was untarnished by politics. However, if I’d been mayor I would have been perpetuating this myth of democracy.”

Padiham Town Council clerk Elizabeth Bolton said that Mr Cave’s motion would have been beyond the powers of the town council which must abide by legislation that dictates it cannot exclude people on political grounds.

She said: “There is no politicism on town councils but there is also no legislation that requests people not to have a political affiliation.”

The town council has until May to decide on a new deputy mayor.