Shamed councillor should resign

Earlier this month a young man from Kidsgrove was convicted of four counts of assault by beating his former girlfriend.

I would like to think that, with a rap sheet like that, most right-thinking individuals would be shamed into hiding away from the world.

Certainly, the idea of holding on to any kind of public office in the wake of such a conviction seems to many both preposterous and somewhat offensive.

However, even in the face of fierce public criticism, 19-year-old Kyle-Noel Taylor is refusing to step down from his roles as both a Newcastle Borough and Kidsgrove Town councillor.

Mr Taylor has stated his intention to appeal against the conviction, but, as it stands, in the eyes of the law he is guilty and will be sentenced on December 1.

A prison sentence of six months or more would then automatically cost him his seat, but anything less and he can carry on as an independent councillor.

Frankly, I’m staggered. I am not sure how many more hints have to be dropped before Mr Taylor is prepared to do what many believe is the decent thing.

Having already been suspended by the Labour Party he will be only too aware of an internet petition calling on him to resign – supported by an awful lot of traffic on social networking sites.

Now, I don’t know Mr Taylor from Adam, but – the way I see it – the longer he remains as councillor the more he brings the role into disrepute.

If he were to win any appeal against the conviction then he could always stand for re-election.

But, in the meantime, does he honestly still believe that the people whom he purports to represent will feel comfortable approaching him for help or advice in the light of the court case?

He was, after all, convicted of charges of domestic violence against his girlfriend which, to most observers, means he has just failed the ‘fit and proper person’ test.

Indeed, it begs the question: How serious would the charges actually have to be for Mr Taylor to be shamed into standing down?

It’s fair to say that in many walks of life the creativity, talent and dynamism of young people is sadly often overlooked because of their age.

Personally, I’ve always subscribed to the view that ‘if you’re good enough, you’re old enough’.

However, I simply don’t believe this phrase should apply to people seeking election to public office and the case of Kyle-Noel Taylor underlines my point rather too well.

It stands to reason that very young councillors can’t possibly have the nous, common sense or the simple life experience to properly represent the range of people who live in their communities.

It takes a special kind of person – let alone a teenager – to be able to empathise with everyone from elderly widows and single mums to hard-working families and those from ethnic minorities.

On the one hand, given the apathy surrounding politics generally in this country, I am reluctant to criticise anyone motivated enough to stand as a councillor.

But if you put yourself up for scrutiny in any elected office then you should be expected to adhere to certain standards of behaviour.

Surely, by anyone’s measure, the courts have judged that Mr Taylor has fallen short and he should have the good grace to acknowledge this.

I’d like to think that if he was a little older, and perhaps a little wiser, he would put other people first and realise that by remaining in post as a councillor at this present time he is doing more harm than good.

Read my Personally Speaking columns in The Sentinel every Tuesday


2 thoughts on “Shamed councillor should resign

  1. melissa says:

    So what you are saying then is that young people are more likely to assault their girlfriends?
    I think if Mr Taylor were 19 or 92 he would still have committed assault, and therefore still not be adequate for public office. I don’t think that there is anything wrong with having young people in public office, they are just as able to do so as someone in their 40’s or 50’s.
    The fact is, Mr Taylor is inadequate for public office, his behaviour is disgusting and he should resign, it has nothing to do with his age.

  2. I started a petition as I believe like yourself that someone who has been convicted in court should no longer be in public office. He is putting himself before the people he stood to represent. He may very well win his appeal but in the meantime he is bringing disrepute to the office he holds and is proving that he is not mature or selfless enough to hold the position. I can’t imagine how comfortable anyone who has suffered domestic abuse would feel with this conviction in terms of approaching him for help. If, for whatever reason, people are put off from seeking the help of their elected representative then that representative should stand down and put the needs of his community first!

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