Rapist cabbie scandal: “You can’t put a price on democracy”

Councillor Stuart Burke
Councillor Stuart Burke

Political lobbying group TaxPayers’ Alliance has slammed a Lib Dem councillor’s claims that he won’t resign because of the cost of a by-election.

Spokesman Andy Silvester told the Citizen the average by-election only costs around £3,000, and “you can’t put a price on democracy”.

He said: ”If we followed this logic to its conclusion, we’d do away with elections completely.

“Whether the councillor stands down is for him to decide, but the cost is no excuse.

“This case demonstrates the clear need for voters to have the power to recall politicians, from Westminster to the town hall, when they feel let down.”

It follows the former licensing and regulatory chairman, Stuart Burke’s admission that he had “no intention” of resigning - as it would be a waste of taxpayers’ money.

Mr Burke told last week’s full council meeting: “I came third in my ward so I’m up for re-election in May anyway.

“There seems little point in me resigning to have a by-election, then six months later have to stand again and waste this council’s money.

“I have no intention, at this point, in resigning because I don’t believe that we want to waste your money having a by-election over this issue.”

> How much is £3,000 to Milton Keynes Council?

The annual council budget for 2014-15 is £200million. That means the council spends £3,000 - the cost of a by-election - every 7 minutes and 53 seconds.

Before he resigned as licensing and regulatory Mr Burke’s council allowance was £18,094. He could expect to be paid £3,000 - the cost of a by-election - every two months.

During 2012-13, councillors spent almost double the cost of a £3,000 by-election on travelling to their duties and paying for their dinner, through their travel and subsistence expenses.