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Prospective Bristol MP resigns in allowances row

April 18, 2009

A politician who wants to be one of Bristol’s MPs has quit his job as a London councillor after he was criticised for not turning up to meetings.

Sam Townend is the Labour candidate for the Bristol North West seat at the next election – which includes Henbury, Westbury-On-Trym and Horfield. Townend lives in Henleaze, also in the constituency.

Until today he was also a councillor in Lambeth in London, for which he claimed the statutory allowance of £10,212 a year.

This afternoon, he exclusively told Original he was quitting his London job. He said: “I’ve been carrying out my duties as a back-bench councillor in full, but I have decided that now is the right time for me to resign.

“I will allow the people of my old ward to elect a new representative. I need to write a letter to the chief executive [of Lambeth Council] to that effect, but I’m announcing it now.”

His resignation comes after one of his political opponents in Lambeth claimed he is not in London often enough to justify his salary.

Lambeth Liberal Democrat councillor Ashley Lumsden told Original: “The last time he came to a meeting was in early January. He only has to come to a meeting every six months, which is about as often as we see him.

“I don’t think he’s serving his constituents well and he’s not doing the work he promised he would do. He can’t be both a parliamentary candidate in Bristol and a councillor in London.”

However, Sam Townend says he will not hand back any of the money he has already claimed.

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