No plans to call by-election for council seat of much-missed Lynne Sparks

PUBLISHED: 08:48 16 February 2018 | UPDATED: 08:57 16 February 2018

The flag flies at half mast at Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council offices in memory of mayor Lynne Sparks. Picture: Mia Jankowicz

The flag flies at half mast at Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council offices in memory of mayor Lynne Sparks. Picture: Mia Jankowicz

Mia Jankowicz

None of the major parties plan to force a by-election to contest the late Lynne Sparks' council seat, according to the group leaders for Labour and the Liberal Democrats.

As procedure requires, Welwyn Hatfield Council has posted a notice of the vacancy for Hatfield Villages, following the tragic and unexpected death of the much-loved councillor and mayor.

READ MORE: Welwyn Hatfield’s community remembers Lynne Sparks

When council seats are unexpectedly vacated outside of the normal election timetable, any member of the public wishing to contest the seat can call for a by-election.

A spokesperson for the council said: “If there is no call for a by-election then the vacancy will be filled at the next ordinary election on May 3.”

Councillor Sparks was a member of the Conservative party.

Both opposing parties plan to wait until May 3 to consider contesting the seat.

Councillor Kieran Thorpe, Labour group leader, said: “It seems wrong that a by-election is even a possibility given the timescale and tragic circumstances.

“I hope it doesn’t happen and certainly won’t be called for by Welwyn Hatfield Labour Party.

“Elections will be taking place on May 3 and I am sure these will be democratically contested by all parties as normal.”

Councillor Malcolm Cowan, local leader of the Liberal Democrats, said: “It would be extraordinarily unseemly to rush to replace Lynne, which is impossible anyway, when the normal election will take place in May.”

A book of condolences can be signed in the reception of the council offices in Campus East, Welwyn Garden City; at Hatfield Housing Office, White Lion House; or at www.welhat.gov.uk/condolence

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