Ely by-election as councillor didn't attend any meetings for six months

Cllr Downey was told the apology must be made in writing to the complainant within 30 days.  

- Credit: Twitter/@MattDowneyEly

A parish council by-election is to be held after an already-sanctioned councillor breached rules by not taking part in any meeting of the City of Ely Council for six months.

Matthew Downey, the Lib Dem member for Ely East, can no longer serve as a councillor because of the breach, said East Cambridgeshire District Council leader Councillor Anna Bailey.

It also comes after he was sanctioned in August 2021 after a heated debate over Black Lives Matter and his outburst on Twitter in which he alleged some Tories were racist.

A disciplinary subcommittee that met behind closed doors concluded that he had twice breached the members’ code of conduct.  

At the time, Cllr Bailey complained that Cllr Downey had failed to treat her and other Conservative members with respect when he called them “racists”. 

He was also told to undergo training “in relation to good political debate”. 

Voting for the by-election will take place on April 7.

Peter John Harris and Rupert William George Moss-Eccardt are the two nominated candidates.