Lord Boyce 'should hold off becoming a freeman'
ADMIRAL The Lord Boyce has been asked to postpone accepting freemanship of Hythe and to back awarding it to Chris Capon.
Former councillor Martin Ross has written to the Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports asking him to wait and to "express formal support" for the county councillor.
The Herald reported last week that since Hythe Town Council's decision to honour Lord Boyce, some 100 people had backed Stuart Macintyre's campaign for Councillor Capon. Newly re-elected mayor David Owen has since said he will add the issue to an agenda once Cllr Capon retires from politics.
But Mr Ross does not believe the matter should be put on hold.
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He wrote: "I notice no such caveat has been attached to your award, notwithstanding your remaining the politically appointed Lord Warden and also the Constable of Dover Castle.
"I am sure you realise Cllr Capon has served Hythe for the last 45 years … unstintingly putting the benefit to Hythe citizens above party politics.
"As I understand it, your duties as Lord Warden include looking after the interests of the Cinque Ports and its inhabitants and guarding their rights against allcomers, and it is my opinion Chris's 45 years of loyal service to the Cinque Ports is deserving of your formal support.
"No doubt you are deserving of such an award … but I ask you to temporarily forgo it."
Mr Macintyre added: "Cllr Owen said it followed historical precedent – but how does that fit with the Lord Warden still in his role? Records show others in the past have accepted it while still in office so we'll have to see where we go from here."
The Lord Warden told the Herald he was honoured to have been asked but that he could not comment further as he had not yet received Mr Ross's letter.
Speaking at last week's annual town meeting, Cllr Owen said: "I have taken informal soundings and in the light of these and in recognition of Councillor Capon's undoubted significant and long service, I will be pleased to request that this is placed on an agenda when Cllr Capon has retired from active political life. I think this will be the appropriate time and will follow historical precedent".
This week he added: "We didn't give freedom to Michael Howard until he had retired from frontline politics. He is a member of the House of Lords, as is the Lord Warden, but the Lord Warden is not affiliated to any party. I would argue that his appointment is not a party political matter and I have the support of a significant number of my council colleagues."