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New Cross councillor Stephen Padmore blames cancer battle for absence from Lewisham Council meetings
A COUNCILLOR has finally revealed the reason for his low attendance at meetings, saying he is suffering from prostate cancer.
According to Lewisham Council records, Councillor Stephen Padmore has made it to only three council meetings over the past year, including one where he stayed for a matter of minutes before leaving again without explanation.
Questions had been raised about his conduct, especially as he barely met guidelines stating councillors, who get a £9,812 annual allowance, must attend at least once every six months.
Even mayor Sir Steve Bullock admitted he did not know where the councillor was.
In a statement released this week, Mr Padmore said: "As the newspaper campaign has intensified I’ve come to understand that I need to be more open about my situation.
"I’ve been a councillor in my area for 26 years but the last year has, personally, been the most difficult."
The 73-year-old suffered a stroke late last year and has also been fighting prostate cancer.
New Cross councillor Cllr Paul Maslin said: "We wish him a good recovery and his friends and colleagues will all chip in to help him."
But leader of Lewisham Lib Dems Councillor Chris Maines said: "Whilst I have every sympathy for him if he's ill, it's quite amazing he manages to make his attendance every six months to make sure he's not disqualified."
He added: "Obviously we hope he a makes a full recovery but if he can't carry out his duties then he shouldn't remain as a councillor quite frankly.
"He's been absent for over a year now. How has it taken this long for them to consider picking up his duties?"
The Labour group said a plan to increase his attendance would be put in place by chief whip Councillor Stella Jeffrey, following a summer meeting with Cllr Padmore where they first learned the extent of his problems.
Fellow New Cross ward councillors have agreed to cover his duties.