A COUNCILLOR is to be booted out of the council seat he represents after failing to attend a single meeting in six months.

Sean Cullen, who serves Whitehaven Central on Copeland council, has not turned up to a meeting since August 12 last year.

This week’s meeting of the full council was his final opportunity to dodge the automatic expulsion and it is understood he will now receive a formal letter advising him of the reasons.

Mr Cullen had attended only three meetings out of a possible 18 since he was elected in May last year.

It is understood he has been working in France, but he still would have been receiving a councillor allowance of £257.82 per month.

Under Section 85 of the Local Government Act 1972, a councillor is automatically disqualified if he or she fails to attend a council meeting for a period of six months.

Former Copeland councillor, William Kirkbride, said he felt let down by the lack of representation from Mr Cullen.

He said: “I seconded his proposal to be nominated. I put a poster for his campaign in my window and I went out and voted for him.

“I voted for a man who I believed was going to look after our interests, but how can he do such a thing when he is living in France?

“If this was a Conservative councillor living in the Seychelles, there would be uproar. It’s double standards. Where is the representation? You can’t represent the people if you are living in France. What right do you have to claim an allowance?”

Labour leader Councillor Mike McVeigh said Mr Cullen is now back in the country and committed to fulfilling his duty as a councillor.

“He is back from working in France. He is now able to fulfill his obligations. He has a young family of three and sadly had to go to France for work.

“He didn’t want to leave his wife at home with three children but work is work and he is back now. His intention is to get fully back into his council obligations and hopefully get some work locally.

“Hopefully he will be successful looking for work in the nuclear industry and will not have to go abroad looking for work.”

Graham Roberts, a former Copeland councillor and current county and town councillor, said: “I know people have to work, I understand that. I think it’s a question of integrity. If you can’t, or you’re not going to turn up to meetings, you should do the honourable thing and hand in your resignation.

“It isn’t a right to be a councillor, it’s a privilege. You should honour that privilege by turning up and doing what you can.”

A spokesman for Copeland Council said: “In order to stand for election, a candidate must be registered to vote, live or work in the borough at the point of being nominated. If any of these circumstances change during a councillor’s term of office, it does not impact on their eligibility to remain as a councillor.”

Mr Cullen was contacted for comment.