No more by-elections?

That would be the result of the recommendation in the consultation paper announced by NI Minister Paul Goggins, MP, to change the current ‘co-option by unanimous agreement’ method in Councils to one of filling casual vacancies by party nomination – as the NI Assembly now does. [Westminster excepted] Consultation paper here [pdf file]. Consultation period – 12 weeks [until 15th January 2010]. In addition, “In the event that DoE(NI) introduces a severance scheme [for councillors] well in advance of a May 2011 election”, the consultation paper proposes introducing a special provision to either “Allow the current co-option rules to apply but carry vacancies until the next election if any co-option fails” or “Carry all vacancies until the next election [2011]”. The new councillors’ severance scheme is currently in consultation mode itself.

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  • 6countyprod

    ‘ but carry vacancies until the next election if any co-option fails’

    This will probably mean that the TUV have just lost the opportunity to co-opt one of their folks unto Craigavon council. A co-option attempt for former DUP man David Calvert failed on Monday night after no one would second a proposal that he take the vacant TUV seat.

  • joeCanuck

    The proposed change seems so sensible that it is hard to believe that it will be acceptable to most of our politicians.

  • Yamua

    How long after the consultation closes until this would actually become law?

    RE: Craigavon

    Is there not a limited time in which to co-opt a replacement before a by-election results?

  • 6countyprod

    Yamua, from link above – answers your 2nd ?

    …A by-election would cost between £25,000 and £30,000, and if the decision isn’t made by November 11 (42 days after Mr Russell resigned) a poll will be called by default.

  • FaughABallagh


    Interesting indeed.

    One wonders what the reasoning is behind the no-show by the main parties on Council.

    Either they are hoping to force a by-election or trying to hard ball the TUV into selecting a different candidate. Whatever their thinking this one is going to work out very interesting.

    For the UUP and the DUP it could reflect either way. But for the TUV this could all get very sour.