By-election after candidate is barred

VOTERS in Horfield will be taking part in a local by-election as well as the general election on July 4.

It comes after Labour’s Deborah Vittori, who was elected in May, was disqualified just 17 days later.

This was because she is a teacher employed in a Bristol City Council school. Teachers are permitted to become councillors but not at local authorities in which they hold paid positions in a council-run school.

Ms Vittori said in a statement after the decision to bar her that she did not know about this rule.

She said: “I am shocked, and absolutely gutted, to discover that, because of my job as a teacher in a local authority maintained primary school, the law will prevent me from serving the people of Horfield who put their trust in me. 

“Throughout my election campaign I spoke proudly of my role as a local primary school teacher.

“I was unaware that my teaching would end up disqualifying me from serving the public in another role, as elected councillor, and it is a great shame that this did not come to light earlier in the process.“

I have met so many amazing people in Horfield; it is a matter of deep regret that I won’t be able to represent them as a councillor.”

The council said it was the responsibility of party political groups and candidates’ agents to ensure they are eligible to stand.

Five candidates will contest the seat this time. Carole Johnson, who is standing for Labour, was a councillor for Ashley ward from 2016 to 2021. She stood in St George West at the May elections but lost out to the Greens.

Anna Meares, the Green Party candidate, who also fought the seat in May, has lived in the ward for five years and works on climate change projects for Somerset Council.

Sharon Scott, for the Conservatives, was a councillor for Westbury & Henleaze until May. She is married with two daughters and has worked in education for over 10 years. Before  that she worked in the finance sector for 20 years.

Roxanne Lock is standing for the Lib Dems and Joan Molins for the Trade Unionist and Socialist Party. Both also stood for the seat in May.

The Greens are the largest party on the city council, with 34 seats, but need two more for an overall majority.

Bristol’s Labour group leader Tom Renhard holds the other Horfield seat.

Horfield ward is in Bristol North West Parliamentary constituency.