A COUNCILLOR was told she had to vote in person at a meeting of BCP Council, despite having spent the night at hospital two days earlier.

Poole People’s L-J Evans, who is now at home recovering from acute cholecystitis (gallstones), was told the law did not allow councils to introduce any form of proxy or remote voting.

As a result, she had to attend Tuesday’s budget meeting in person, despite still being on antibiotics and a high dose of painkillers.

The Poole Town ward councillor said there was “no excuse” for the law not allowing elected representatives to vote remotely when it can be justified on health grounds.

“We’re in the 21st century, the technology is available to do this and there’s no reason we can’t find a way to make sure the system isn’t abused,” she said ahead of the meeting on Tuesday.

“I’m still in a bit of pain even with the painkillers and would much rather be at home but this meeting is an important one and the numbers are very tight.”

The Liberal Democrat-led coalition controlling the council has a small majority over the Conservative opposition with five votes between the two at Tuesday’s meeting.

Cllr Evans spent three hours at Poole Hospital A&E last Wednesday (February 12) before she was admitted overnight the following Sunday.

She wrote to the council’s monitoring officer, Tanya Coulter, ahead of the meeting requesting to vote remotely.

But Ms Coulter said there was no legal provision for councillors to be able to vote in any way other than in person.

“I’m afraid the law doesn’t allow for proxy votes within local government decisions – only members who are present at the meeting can vote,” she said. “This is frustrating I know, however the law is very clear on this and there is no discretion or alternative option.”

Referencing similar issues at a national level in which heavily pregnant MPs and others who were in hospital were forced to attend to vote on a Brexit bill in 2018, she said it was time better provision was made for people to be able to vote away from a meeting.