Councillor finally takes seat after name blunder


Matt Jones

A LABOUR councillor who was denied a seat because of a mix up over his name will finally take office this week.

Denbighshire Council Conservative candidate Allan Pennington was elected to the Prestatyn North electoral ward last May after receiving votes actually cast for similarly-named Labour rival Paul Penlington.

Last week the High Court in London made its judgement and ruled Paul Penlington should have been elected, not Allan Pennington.

Mr Penlington, who until now has been bound by a court order to remain silent on the issue, said: “It didn’t occur to me at first that such a daft mistake could have been made, but as the day wore on I realise that is the only thing that could have happened.

“It comes as a great relief that the judges have ruled in my favour and I hope that I will very shortly join my Labour colleagues on Denbighshire County Council.

“Most importantly this will mean the voters of Prestatyn North will get the Labour representation that they voted for in the election last May.

“I was originally very angry at the mistake made by the Returning Officer.

“It has caused a lot of unnecessary stress.

“This situation must not happen again and has caused delay and also significant, and unnecessary, cost.

“However, I intend to now pour my energies in to representing my local area and working hard to repay the faith shown in me.”

He is due to take up his seat this week.

In May, Denbighshire Council announced human error led to the mistake saying blocked votes were placed against the wrong name.

Allan Pennington now has until February 1 to submit any objection to the decision.

In the initial count Mr Pennington was awarded 580 votes and Mr Penlington 366.

Mr Penlington said the recount saw him secure 606 to Mr Pennington’s 341.

Mohammed Mehmet, Denbighshire’s chief executive, said: “ Denbighshire prides itself on having rigorous processes in place to deal with elections and we are justifiably proud of our record.

“However, on this very rare occasion, a human error led to a mistake being made. We co-operated fully with the court when a challenge was mounted against the vote declaration and we have been open, honest and accountable in this matter.

“Once this mistake came to our attention, we acted immediately. We have tightened our procedures further to make sure this kind of mistake is avoided in future.”

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