A COUNCILLOR claimed he was forced out of his ward by the ‘Lancing mafia’ after committee members deselected him in the run up to the May election.
Conservative councillor Keith Dollemore stood up at Adur District Council’s full meeting last Thursday to declare he has been ‘usurped’ from his ward and intended to resign. Mr Dollemore, who has served on the Manor ward for the past 15 years, said: “Over the years we have joked about the Lancing Mafia.
“Well the elite north Lancing mafia have taken control of Manor ward, usurped me and I will not, therefore, be standing for re-election as the conservative candidate in this ward.”
The East Worthing and Shoreham Conservative Party saw three councillors place themselves forward for the Manor ward in Lancing, including Mr Dollemore, Carson Albury and Fred Lewis.
Following a vote by committee members, Mr Albury was selected as the Conservative representative to run for the ward.
But at Adur district’s full council meeting, Mr Dollemore said this decision needs to be ‘placed in the full public domain’.
He said: “For the sake of transparency and to dispel rumours, this has to be said now and placed in the full public domain as some members of the public are already aware and some were aware before this decision was formally made.
“It places me in a very difficult situation. I am not sure that I can continue in my current position as a cabinet member and intend to formally hand my resignation to the leader within the next few days.”
Following last Thursday’s council meeting, Mr Albury told the Herald the decision was a straight forward, democratic process and Mr Dollemore’s comments were ‘childish’.
He said: “There was a hustings. We were told by the executive committee that each candidate had to put their name down for two wards.
“We had three candidates and the members voted as to who they wanted to represent in the May election.
“It was nothing dodgy, it was straight forward. I wasn’t involved in the process at all.”
In reference to Mr Dollemore’s Lancing ‘mafia’ comment, he added: “If you have been in the ward for 15 years and you turn up for an election where the members don’t select you, you have to take that to heart.
“But I don’t think the way he made that announcement was appropriate. I think what was said at the council meeting was totally out of order. It’s totally childish.”
Adur district council leader, Neil Parkin, said he was ‘saddened’ to hear Mr Dollemore would be stepping down.
“He has been in the cabinet since we went to the leader and cabinet model. He was very loyal and I will miss him.”
He added it was too early to appoint a successor, which would be done after the election.
A spokesman for the Lancing Manor and Coombes branch of the Conservative Party said the committee ‘regrets (Mr Dollemore) has spoken out in this way’.
He said: “A number of candidates put their names forward to stand as the official Conservative Party candidate in the Lancing Manor and Coombes ward, and at the branch AGM on January 30 there was a record turnout of members. Regretfully, councillor Dollemore was not reselected. He was, of course, free to submit his name for a different ward within Adur in the normal way.
“The East Worthing and Shoreham Conservative Party welcomes the interest shown by candidates wanting to stand for the Conservative Party locally enabling local members to select the best quality local representatives to serve the people of Adur.”