UKIP committee chairman diagnosed with severe dyslexia says he had no option but to resign
PUBLISHED: 10:44 29 August 2014
The chairman of one of Cambridgeshire County Council’s biggest spending committees is to be replaced after being diagnosed with “severe dyslexia”.
A leading councillor is standing down from the chairmanship of one of Cambridgeshire’s major committees after being told he has severe dyslexia and facing a vote of no confidence.
UKIP councillor Paul Clapp of Wisbech will quit his role as chairman of the Adults Wellbeing and Health Overview Committee because of the threatened no confidence vote by the leaders of the four other political groups.
Mr Clapp - who spent 10 years in youth work which included helping teenagers with dyslexia - said the recent diagnosis had been a great surprise.
He denied he had failed to chair committees to a high standard and said he would be speaking out at a national UKIP conference on the issue and hoped to win support from those who believe people with dyslexia face discrimination.
Council leader Steve Count, Lib Dem leader Maurice Leeke, Labour leader Paul Sales and Independent leader John Hipkin all signed a vote of no confidence letter to the chief executive Mark Lloyd.
They claimed Mr Clapp was struggling to cope with the role: forgetting to call for votes on committee items; failing to realise when the next item should be introduced; and reading recommendations from different items to those being debated.
The letter claims the role of chairman is also to work with officers on strategic issues “and we simply do not believe that the current chairman is experienced enough to do this at a very difficult and important time”.
Mr Clapp said he had accepted a statement to be issued by his group leader, Paul Bullen, which will recommend a change in chairmanship from the October meeting of the council.
It is intended Mr Clapp will swap places with health committee member and UKIP councillor Sandra Rylance of Chatteris. He take her place on the health and wellbeing board.
Cllr Bullen said: “The swap is being recommended to help support councillor Clapp who has had a recent diagnosis of severe dyslexia.
“While this means he finds it hard to cope with the amount of paperwork a chairman needs to deal with and read, it also gives him vital insight for his new role on health.”
Mr Clapp said: “For all of last year I was chairman of the children’s and young people’s committee and everyone was very pleased with the work I did.”
Before becoming a councillor his outside work had included 10 years as a youth worker which had included helping young people cope with dyslexia.
He said: “Effectively we were pushed into a corner since we would have not succeeded against a vote of no confidence. It’s left a bitter taste.”
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