The Northern Agenda

The disabled young mum kicked off Hull council: Sarah Harper-Riches on the 'archaic rules' that forced her out of local politics

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Episode notes

If you opened Friday's Northern Agenda newsletter you won't have been able to miss the cartoon by Graeme Bandeira featuring Nadine Dorries, the Merseyside-born Tory MP and former Culture Secretary who seems to be absent without leave from her constituency in Bedfordshire.

She's failed to speak in the Commons for more than a year and hasn't voted in Parliament since April, but as her constituents are finding out, it's very difficult to get rid of an absentee MP outside election season.

But at local level in our town halls the rules are very different, as Hull councillor Sarah Harper-Riches found out to her cost. Councillors cease to be a member of their authority if they fail to attend any meeting for six consecutive months.

But her recall has sparked fury as her absence was triggered first by the birth of her first daughter but then because she suffers from chronic fatigue syndrome, delaying her return to local politics. She spoke to Rob Parsons about the shock of being kicked off Hull council and why her story matters for the diversity of who represents us at local level. 


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The Northern Agenda is a Laudable production for Reach. It is presented by Rob Parsons, and produced by Daniel J. McLaughlin.

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