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Illegal substance councillor praised for decision to resign
5:00pm Friday 20th September 2013 in News
A LEADING Ledbury councillor has praised the work of Herefordshire’s youngest- ever elected member who has resigned after being found in possession of an illegal substance.
Hereford county councillor Alex Hempton-Smith walks away from politics next Friday following a police caution for possessing the substance, which hasn’t been revealed, in a Hereford nightclub.
The It’s Our County member, who was just 19 when he first became a county councillor in 2011, says he has suffered acute depression for some time and now plans to travel the world.
But IOC’s deputy leader, Ledbury county councillor Liz Harvey, says the strain of both his position and holding down a full-time job may have taken its toll.
“Alex informed the group leadership as soon as it happened and he was clear he wanted to resign,” she said.
“He was very clear that for him this was a resigning matter.
“It’s been a huge strain for him having a full-time job and being a councillor, too. We’re really sad for Alex.”
Coun Harvey said party bosses waited a month before breaking the news.
“We wanted to make sure he was receiving the proper medical attention for his depression and make sure he was ready for it to be made public,” she said.
“He’s been absolutely fantastic.
He gave us a young person’s perspective (on the county).
“Who of us has not made a mistake? Drugs are a reality, but I’m not condoning them. They are wrong, illegal and damaging.”
She said a by-election was likely to be held for Coun Hempton-Smith’s seat in due course.
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