Councillor Roderick Lawrie, who represents Norham and Islandshire on Northumberland County Council, appears to have quit. The elusive Councillor who failed to attend most meetings of his local Parish Councils, and who now seems to live in the Isle of Man, is said to have resigned, or be on the edge of resigning.
As a non-resident, with not even a business interest in the County, it is said that he is ineligible to stand for the office he was elected to.
Many Parish Councils have been concerned at his non-appearance at meetings, and his lack of local knowledge – most have come to expect advice and real contacts with County departments to come from their County Councillor. Little has come from Councillor Lawrie since he was elected almost 2 years ago.
Fuel for the rumours has been added to the flames because the local Tory party has been actively canvassing local people with a record of local service to stand in his place. And now his name has been omitted from the list of Conservative Councillors in the County.
His election in 2017 was controversial, when he won the seat from long-standing and well-respected local farmer Dougie Watkin, a Liberal Democrat. It is said he secured the election through outsiders with postal votes who were unaware of the many years of excellent service given by Councillor Watkin.
Lowick Parish Council confirms that Councillor Lawrie has unable to fill the shoes vacated by his predecessor, and is waiting with interest to see what will happen next. A by-election is expected if the next County Election is more than 6 months away – which it is. The PC intends to seek confirmation from the Leader of the County Council about the future.
In the event of a by-election, we expect the Conservatives will want to field a genuine and effective candidate. We understand that Mr Watkin is prepared to stand again, presumably with better support from his local Party this time.