Sunday, 14 December 2008
Granted a 'Leave of Absence'
Last Wednesday the Full Ipswich Borough Council granted me a 'leave of absence' for 11 months. this will enable me to keep my place on the council if I am mobilised in January to join 2 Rifles on a planned tour of Afghanistan.
I thought it may have been a quick decision, and as I had to leave the chamber, I did not think I would be out of the room long. But a debate was had and two of the Lib Dems abstained and one even spoke against allowing me to retain my post.
I can understand some people finding it difficult to vote for me to leave if they are against our presence in Afghanistan but I was surprised that they actually spoke against it.
But I am led to believe that our group leader, David Ellsmere spoke very powerfully for me to be allowed to stay on as a councilor and also from the opposite benches, Steven Wells also spoke up for me and so it was nice to have cross party support.
My Labour colleagues will continue to campaign in Rushmere whilst I am away and take on my ward work and the two Conservative councillors for the ward have also offered to take on any outstanding case work.
I am not sure when I am off, or even if I am definitely going but until I do I will continue to work for my constituents, on Saturday I was delivering budget leaflets in the ward and this week I have 3 committee meetings at Grafton House.
Once I have definite news on my mobilisation I will inform my constituents.