Controversial By-Election In Southfields

Cllr resigns claiming she was refused old job back after depression

A by-election is to take place in the Southfields ward on Thursday 29 March to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Cllr Lucy Allan.

47 Year old Ms Allan (pictured left), told a reporter from The Surrey Comet that "she was refused old job back because of depression".

She had been diagnosed with depression in 2010, following a distressing family bereavement. 

The article said that Ms Allan 'agreed to take unpaid leave from her role on Wandsworth Council in March and said it was understood she could return.   Her position as chairman of the environment and leisure scrutiny committee and the transport and strategic planning overview committee was taken by other councillors.  She returned to the council in October ready to take on her former responsibilities.'

The article continued: ' She returned to the council in October ready to take on her former responsibilities.

In a meeting with council leader Councillor Ravi Govindia in February she asked if she could rejoin a committee, but said she was refused.

She said: “I said I was keen to re-establish my role and wanted to get back into that position. I said what are your plans for me to do that?   He was very clear cut, he said it was not a possibility because he and my colleagues did not have confidence in me.  I thought that was quite unusual, because even the most junior councillors get to sit on a committee of some sort – it sent out the message that perhaps I was mentally unfit.”'

Ms Allan resigned following her meeting with Cllr Govindia.

Cllr Ravi Govindia told
"I was saddened to hear this news as Lucy was always a valued and respected member of our team."

Lucy Allan told
"Depression in the work place is an important public health issue particularly during difficult economic times, when more people are seeking help. 1 in 4 adults experience some form mental ill health at some point in their lives.  People with depression can work normally and most health professionals consider it is therapeutic to keep working. 
The Council is a large employer and it should lead the way by treating the issue sensitively and without prejudice; depression is not a crime."

If you live in the Southfields ward and intend to vote in this by-election there is still time to make sure your name is on the electoral register.

People born in this country, along with citizens of qualifying Commonwealth countries, plus those from the European Union and British overseas territories are all eligible to vote.

To cast your ballot, you must ensure you are registered to vote by midnight on Wednesday 14 March. There is also a 5pm deadline that day for people wanting to request a postal vote.

Poll cards for the by-election will be delivered to all eligible voters between Friday 24 February and Sunday 26 February.

February 15, 2012