EDITORIAL: Why did MPs wait a year to resign as councillors?

(24 March, 2016)

Neil Coyle and Helen Hayes rejected calls to step down after their General Election victories.

2467Helen Hayes, Harriet Harman and Neil Coyle on election night 2015 (photo credit: Alexandra Coyle)

Last May, in the wake of their General Election successes, Southwark’s newest MPs dismissed concerns that they would not be able to balance their councillor responsibilities with their new Westminster roles.

Yet, ten months down the line, both Neil Coyle and Helen Hayes have finally (and simultaneously) announced their resignation from their Tooley Street positions.

Why now? Has the pair let nearly a year pass simply to avoid the appearance that they were stepping down at the behest of Southwark Lib Dems, who were vocal in their concerns? Regardless, it now appears that initial complaints were valid, with Mr Coyle admitting himself in his resignation letter to council leader Peter John that he had found himself in a “predicament” attempting to juggle his various duties.

It is a shame for the residents of Newington and College wards that this predicament was not realised – or admitted too – far earlier.

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