I was a Liberal Democrat councillor for Calder Ward from 1998 to 2007. In late 2005, I moved to Leeds, to care for my then partner, who was undergoing treatment for cancer at Cookridge, a fact which I publicised and received many kind expressions of support, including from the Labour Party.
I was available to my constituents at the end of a phone and could be anywhere in the ward within an hour. I was in the area every week – sometimes more frequently - and dealt with any problems my constituents brought to my attention. I continued to be an active member of the council, serving on a number of Calderdale scrutiny panels and committees and representing the council on various national bodies.
I hardly ever missed a meeting. It was not an ideal situation, but it worked.
I did not seek re-election in 2007, because I felt the job required more than I could give it at that time. It would have been perfectly possible to stand again because I still fulfilled the legal requirements, but I knew very well that the other parties would, quite properly, use my move to Leeds against me.
Coun Nader Fekri on the other hand has moved to Istanbul, many thousands of miles away. He has attended two council meetings since May and serves on no panels or committees at all.
He cannot deal with constituents properly and even if he visits Hebden Bridge occasionally, he is not remotely filling the job of councillor effectively.
I would therefore urge him in the strongest possible terms to resign and let the people decide who should succeed him.
Labour should also bear in mind the fate of the Elland seat, where their councillor, Sean Topham, moved to work in some other European country and refused to resign.
The Lib Dems waged an effective campaign to remind voters of their Labour representative’s lack of presence for the remainder of Coun Topham’s term and were rewarded with a large majority in the election that followed.
Who was one of the Liberal Democrats who advised us on that campaign? None other than Tim Swift, now Labour leader of the council, who is now encouraging Coun Fekri to remain in post.
Dr Mick Taylor, Calderdale Liberal Democrats