What is one to make of this press announcement from The Mayor of Margate's Parlour this morning? Is this a resignation or isn't it? I presume that for 'Today's hearing', Mrs Ezekiel means 'yesterday's hearing'.
After Today's hearing The Mayor of Margate, Cllr Ted Watt-Ruffell is intending to step aside as Mayor, and that Cllr Michael Tomlinson, the Deputy Mayor, will take over his duties. The sentence is subject to appeal.
Editors noteThere will be no further statement subject to the appeal.
What I find strange is that the impression is given that the sentence is the issue and thus no further comment will be made until that has been appealed!
Let's just pinch ourselves for a moment and then wake up.
Mr Watt-Ruffell ( I will no longer give him the courtesy of his title and no longer regard him as my ward councillor) pleaded GUILTY to a serious animal cruelty/neglect charge and was then FOUND GUILTY. That is the issue why his full resignation should have been made this morning and why he should resign from TDC as a Councillor. The rules on Councillor convictions do not require it but an honourable Conservative councillor would have resigned as Mayor and as a Councillor, long ago.
This mealy mouthed press-release obfuscates the issue. If Mr Watt-Ruffell wishes to appeal what appears to be a lenient penalty of 80 hours Community Service that is his private business and whilst some might consider that foolish, that is a matter between him and the Courts. It does not alter the fact that he has been found guilty and has thus brought The Mayoralty of Margate and TDC into disrepute.
It really is time for The Charter Trustees to step in on the Mayor issue and demand his resignation and TDC Conservatives (if there are any left) to remove 'the whip' and whisper in his ear that it might be best that he resigns as a Councillor.