The real reason for the Dunchurch byelection

When Mike Galsworthy stepped down from his  seat this autumn, there was something odd about it. The local press seemed to know more than they were saying, because they reported him as announcing his resignation within a day of stating he would remain, but they didn’t report why the question had been asked in the first place.

The reason given at the time was ‘personal’. I heard that it was something like his family weren’t happy with the extra commitment of being a councillor, and he’d been given an ultimatum by his wife. As he’d only been elected in May this year, that made some sense (although he appears to have been an active parish councillor for some time, so should have been prepared for extra effort.

Now it can be reported – as per the Advertiser – that Galsworthy is facing a court date next week, having been charged with  “four offences of failing to notify the council of change of circumstances namely partner, partner working, private pension and councillors’ allowance under section 112(1A) Social Security Administration Act 1992.”

That means he’s been accused of what would come under the heading ‘benefit fraud’. It’s not clear what benefits this covers, but I’m not sure that makes a difference. As it is the council that are pursuing him, he’d have little choice but to resign even if he is later cleared, because there would be a clear conflict of interest.

I wonder if the byelection was called quickly so that it took place before the news came out?

I also wonder whether the good voters of Dunchurch and Knightlow would have thought twice before electing another Tory to replace him, had they had the chance to know about this before December 2nd?