Northfleet councillor steps down to focus on duties as MP in Slough
PUBLISHED: 07:00 14 March 2019
A Labour councillor has stood down as a Kent County Councillor for Gravesend after more than 12 years to focus on his role as an MP for a town 60 miles away.
Tanmanjeet Dhesi has faced criticism for representing two towns about 60 miles apart since the general election.
The former mayor of Gravesham has been dividing his time between London, Slough and Gravesend for more than two years.
MP for Slough, Tan Dhesi said he is standing down from KCC at an “optimum time” which coincides with the borough council elections.
He said: “Given my significant and increased Parliamentary duties, I have been in discussions over the last year with senior Labour colleagues in Gravesham and Kent about when would be the best time to step down.
“We were agreed that a stand alone election would not be ideal and therefore I agreed to continue my service (regularly attending KCC meetings) until the next round of elections.
“As there are all-out borough council elections in Gravesham this May, this was identified as being the optimum time for me to handover my responsibilities to someone else, so that the KCC by-election could be held on the same day as the GBC election.
“I’m extremely grateful to the fine people of Northfleet and Gravesend West who elected me in 2017, given my previous decade long record of service within Gravesham (as a mayor, councillor, charity trustee and volunteer, school governor, etc), despite knowing that I was a parliamentary candidate for Slough.
“It has been an honour and a privilege to serve them over the last two years.”
Leader of the Labour group at KCC, Dara Farrell, thanked Tan Dhesi for his “professionalism and diligence” representing his ward.
He said: “While Tan was able to represent the division of Northfleet and Gravesend West with the professionalism and diligence that residents deserve, serving in Parliament and at County Hall was an incredible strain on Tan’s time.
“As an active member of the council, Tan served in committees, regularly took part in full council debates and undertook case work on behalf of local people.
“As leader of the group I’d like to thank Tan for his service to both the council and those in his community.
“Looking ahead to the resulting by-election, I’m confident residents will continue to place their trust in Labour councillors.”
Tan was born in Slough after his parents emigrated from Punjab, India.
After spending around five years with his family in India, he moved in with his family in Gravesend aged nine.
He went to Sir Joseph Williamson’s Mathematical Grammar School in Rochester and later the Gravesend Grammar School.
The father-of-two has represented Gravesend for more than 12 years as both a borough and county councillor.
At the last local elections on May 4, 2017, he was elected to represent Northfleet and Gravesend West with 3,786 votes, 23pc of the overall voter share.
He had previously stood to represent the town as an MP in 2015 but lost out to Tory Adam Holloway.
His resignation means there is will be a by-election for Northfleet and Gravesend West in May.