Election process is labelled a ‘shambles’

Ann Midwinter

Ann Midwinter

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NEWLY-ELECTED councillors united together this week to describe the election procedure on Friday as a ‘complete shambles’.

Disorganised counting left Thame councillors waiting until after 8.30pm to hear their fate – a full 13 hours after the first people began to arrive for the count.

Questions were also raised about the whether Thame Leisure Centre was a suitable venue for the count due to parking problems that resulted from sharing with Lord Williams’s School.

Conservative councillor Mike Welply, who was elected in Thame North, said: “I was dismayed at the length of time it took to even start the counting.

“Organisation seemed to be totally lacking and that view is shared right across the board – all the candidates were dismayed by the slowness of the count.”

Independent councillor Ann Midwinter, who won a seat in Thame South, backed up the claims, saying: “It was a shambles and it needs to be addressed because if they have another one in four years’ time, this cannot be repeated.

“I don’t know why they picked the leisure centre because it just ended up in chaos.

“With the school next door there was no parking and it was so hot because we couldn’t open any of the doors in case the wind blew the papers.”

Thame district councillors will now have to decide whether to follow the wishes of the town council and support a vote of no confidence in the returning officer David Buckle.

She said: “I have been in to see how we go about this and have to think about my decision. I reckon other councils across the district will also be thinking about it as people were upset all over the place.”

Mrs Midwinter’s actions came after a statement she received from the town council, which read: “Thame Town Council urges its district councillors to come together in proposing or supporting a motion of no confidence in the returning officer who it holds entirely responsible for the recent shambolic election process.”

But both Mr Welply and Mrs Midwinter were united in their thanks for the people who have voted them in.

Mr Welply said: “I was extremely delighted with the response and can’t thank the people enough.”

While Mrs Midwinter added: “I would like to thank the people who voted for me, it is an honour to represent them.”