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Councillors vote to ditch current election system to one poll every four years

Thursday 9th December 2021

COUNCILLORS last night voted to hold elections every four years - with the hope of saving the tax-payer £250,000.

Maidstone Borough Council has for many years opted for an election three in every four years, known as "thirds".

Critics say it is disruptive to smooth governance as six weeks are spent in 'purdah', when the authority's business is effectively suspended.

Cllr Jonathan Purle, Tory deputy leader at MBC, said it could save the one and two member wards being subsumed into larger divisions under changes expected by the Boundary Commission.

After the vote was won by 39 votes to five against and eight abstentions, he said: "The present system allows too much short-termism, leading to Maidstone going to pot over the past ten years or so."

The previous Liberal Democrat/Labour ruling alliance ousted in May resisted attempts to change the system.

Conservative leader Cllr David Burton said: "This has never been about political gain."

Labour said the current system "keeps us in touch with the public" more regularly.