District Councillor’s resignation over Twitter comments sees by-election for vacant seat

A by-election has been called to fill a seat vacated by a Sleaford area councillor who likened Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to Hitler.

Coun Dr Peter Moseley. EMN-220401-142107001
Coun Dr Peter Moseley. EMN-220401-142107001
Coun Dr Peter Moseley. EMN-220401-142107001

Dr Peter Moseley resigned last week as councillor for the Aveland Ward on South Kesteven District Council, which includes the villages of Aslackby, Billingborough, Rippingale and Pointon.

His former ward, along with the Isaac Newton Ward in Grantham will be contested on Thursday February 24.

Voting for Isaac Newton and Aveland wards will be on the same day as a by-election for Colsterworth Rural electoral division of Lincolnshire County Council.

Candidates can be nominated from Friday January 21, and nomination papers must be signed by a proposer and seconder who need to be local government electors for the relevant ward or division.

Leading members of the council had distanced themselves from Dr Moseley when he took to his Twitter account at the beginning of January criticise the Covid policies of Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, claiming he was ’going all Hitler’ on the population. He also called the UK Government’s pandemic restrictions a ‘tool for evil’. After receiving complaints from opposition members, he again took to Twitter and was unapologetic about his views, then retweeting a parody of a British citizenship application which cuold be deemed offensive to Jews and Muslims.

These actions led to Council Leader Coun Kelham Cooke distancing the authority from Dr Moseley and he was suspended from the Conservative Party and the Tory group on the council, leaving him as an unaligned councillor.

Dr Moseley’s Twitter account has since been deleted but last week he made no apologies as he announced his resignation in the press on Tuesday, January 11 saying that he had support around the world for his stance.

Dr Moseley said in his resignation statements to the press that his allegiance to friends, family and colleagues far outweighed any to the local council and councillors, and so it was better to cut those ties.

He said it would enable him to continue to lobby to protect “every individual’s right to choose whether they receive a vaccination”.

He said he had been ready for a change for a couple of years, but added: “I do not support the direction of the current political leadership, and I have grave reservations about the performance of the current Chief Executive.”

In October Dr Moseley stepped down from South Kesteven District Council’s cabinet.

A spokesperson for SKDC said: “We can confirm that Peter Moseley has resigned as a councillor of South Kesteven District Council and would like to thank him for his service as both the Aveland ward councillor and as a former Cabinet Member.

“This will create a vacancy in the ward which will be publicised in due course as part of the normal democratic process.

“The views expressed by Peter Moseley on his personal Twitter account and in his letter of resignation are his own.”

Coun Cooke said: “I am not surprised to hear of the resignation of Peter Moseley, who has been a councillor for South Kesteven since 2014.

“Peter was an active member of the Cabinet, representing the council on the Lincolnshire Waste Partnership and had a critical role with developing the parks and open spaces across the District.

“Clearly, his recent public comments and social media activity led to his suspension as a member of the Conservative Group. Peter’s resignation today through the press, brings an end to his role as a councillor representing South Kesteven. I wish to thank him for his contribution over this time and wish him well for the future.”

In a joint statement, Coun Cooke and Coun Paul Wood, Leader of the Opposition said: “Since the Chief Executive’s unanimous appointment in 2020, South Kesteven has undergone a significant period of change, transformation and service improvement.

“Our response to COVID-19 has been exemplary in supporting residents, businesses and communities across the District. Our council continues to go from strength to strength with a clear corporate plan and in meeting our challenging priorities.

“We are both extremely disappointed with Peter Moseley’s comments which we absolutely refute. Our chief executive has shown excellent leadership of the Council and has our full support.”

Commenting on the upcoming by-election Chief Executive and Returning Officer for the district, Karen Bradford, said: “Councillors make a real difference to their communities and these elections will give people the chance to put themselves forward to help decide local issues.

“If you are interested in standing, please get in touch with our elections team who can explain the process and assist with all aspects of the process, including the paperwork, campaigning and count arrangements.”

Information on how to become a councillor can be found via the SKDC website at southkesteven.gov.uk/becomecouncillor

Nomination papers and information packs are also available from the SKDC website at southkesteven.gov.uk/byelections or from the elections team: 01476 406080, email: [email protected]

The election timetable will begin with the publication of the Notice of Election on January 20 and prospective candidates will have until 4pm on Friday January 28 to submit completed nomination papers.

Full details on each election can be found at www.southkesteven.gov.uk/index.aspx?articleid=15659

There are also deadlines for those who wish to vote. To take part, residents need to be registered to vote by the end of Tuesday February 8. Visit www.gov.uk/register-to-vote and register, particularly those who have recently moved or are turning 18. The website asks for your date of birth and National Insurance number in addition to the usual details of name, address, previous address and nationality.