Fed up with being a puppet in dirty politics
At the Swanley Town Council meeting this evening the Mayor of Swanley, Shanker Gaire, the first Nepalese Mayor in Britain, resigned.
He and his wife also left the Conservative Party to sit as independents on the Council. This dramatic announcement was made at a poorly attended meeting. One of the reasons given for his resignation was that he was “fed up with being used as a puppet in dirty politics” and being ignored by the ruling Tories.
Some of the key points in Cllr Shanker Gaire resignation speech included:
It has always been said that politics is a dirty game. However, I had not believed in it but now I stand corrected on this matter.
“Without mincing words, I would like to inform you that I may be a mayor in your eyes, but in the council, I have been disrespected and disregarded through words, action, tone, attitude and body language by the two key people in the executive positions, namely the chief executive and/or the town clerk and the council leader.
“I am not consulted over matters and nor is my approval sought.”
“I thought that Brexit had created a barrier mainly for Europeans but it seems that this spirit was extended beyond Europe and created a barrier for the only Nepalese elected as Mayor in the history of the United Kingdom.”
Cllr Shanker Gaire stated he was: “merely a puppet in the hands of a few who are controlling and intimidating”.
Labour Councillor Mike Hogg states:
At the Full Council Meeting of Swanley Town Council, the Councillor Shanker Gaire and his wife Cllr Laxmi Gaire resigned their positions as Mayor and Mayor’s Escort. They also announced that, after 10 years of loyal service, they no longer wished to be members of the Conservative Party and would sit as Independents.
This news comes only days after it was announced that Tony Searles, the former Leader of the Council, was indefinitely suspended from the ruling Conservative Group. This means that in this year, for varied reasons, the Tories have lost four councillors.
This indicates that there is something radically amiss with the Tory Group on Swanley Town Council. Shankar in his resignation speech stated that he was sick of “being used as a puppet in dirty politics.” He also stated that he regretted being “made mayor only to be a pawn.” He says that: “I served the (Conservative) party as an active member for 10 years and have never felt so bitter.”
Shanker in his resignation speech stressed that he was feeling increasingly ignored and isolated by his Conservative colleagues and the Town Clerk. He was not given any credit for his initiatives (especially a fund raising dinner that he arranged) and his opinion on a range of policy matters was never sought.
At the meeting, I saw Shanker as a very bitter man, who was being used as a token and not as a full member of the ruling group. The contribution that he could have made to the town as a mayor from the Asian Community has been thrown away. He says that “It appears that BREXIT not only created barriers for the Europeans but also to the Nepalese in the party.”
There must now be a full investigation launched into Cllr Shanker Gaire’s allegations of racism & intimidation. We reported in April 2016 that Swanley Town Council was being investigated by Radio 5 for bullying staff. We now need to find out what exactly Cllr Shanker Gaire meant by: “merely a puppet in the hands of a few who are controlling and intimidating.”