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Election candidate questions West Norfolk town's rules

An election candidate who was barred from having a stall in Downham has warned the rule could make politicians even more remote from the people they seek to represent.

Town council officials have defended their stance against a request made by Ruth Jolley, amid claims of double standards.

But Ms Jolley, who has been nominated as the Brexit Party’s candidate for the South West Norfolk constituency at the next general election, fears it could disengage even more people from the political process.

Ruth Jolley, the Brexit Party's prospective Parliamentary candidate for South West Norfolk
Ruth Jolley, the Brexit Party's prospective Parliamentary candidate for South West Norfolk

She said she had not faced the same issue in other towns around the constituency.

And she added: “Many people are worried at the moment that politicians are terribly disconnected from people.

“I’m concerned that by taking away the opportunity to have a political stand, there is one less way for the public and politicians to meet informally face to face.

“I strongly believe that politicians should not be remote figureheads, but should be easily accessible.”

After she raised the issue on social media this week, questions were raised about the town council’s apparent willingness to allow stalls in the town centre during the 2016 EU referendum campaign.

But new town clerk Elaine Oliver said they were likely to have been allowed because that issue was not seen as being directly party political.

A debate on whether the authority should declare a climate emergency last month saw concerns raised over the documents put forward in support of the proposal, which were largely based on Green Party material.

And Mrs Oliver said: “As of today, we don’t have any political parties (on the town council).”

She added that other options were available to the Brexit Party and others.

She said: “If they want to book the town hall we have no problem with that within reason.”

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