Why are St Albans and Harpenden being run by politicians who live elsewhere?

Palace of Westminster. Photo: Stefan Rousseau

Palace of Westminster. Photo: Stefan Rousseau - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Should our politicians live in the towns and cities they serve?

Complaints have been raised about councillors and MPs deciding the futures of St Albans and Harpenden despite living elsewhere.

During the General Election campaign, Harpenden Conservative Bim Afolami, now the town’s MP, was accused of being ‘parachuted’ into the seat.

And St Albans’ Conservative MP Anne Main has always formerly registered her home address as Beaconsfield.

Harpenden voter Carol Hedges said: “Bim Afolami, not remotely from Hitchen or Harpenden or with any connection to either town, was ‘parachuted in’.

“He never moved into the area during the campaign. I also gather that Anne Main still doesn’t live in St Albans.”

Mr Afolami said: “I have recently moved to the constituency – only a week after being elected.

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“We are setting up home in a small village to the south of Hitchin. My wife and I intend to educate our children locally as well.”

Mrs Main’s office was asked for comment, but did not respond.

St Albans resident Nick Chivers recently criticised local county councillor Sandy Walkington for putting his office address in the city on a leaflet, instead of his home address in Welwyn.

Mr Chivers said: “He’s not one of ‘us’, he doesn’t live here! I’m not suggesting candidates have to live in the area they represent, but they shouldn’t try and pretend they do when they don’t.”

Lib Dem Cllr Walkington said: “I moved to St Albans in 1981 and lived in the city for many years. I was married at the Abbey because it was my parish church. My two oldest children were born and spent their early years in St Albans. I now live in Welwyn, 20 minutes drive away from my county division.

“I still received one of the highest votes of any candidate at this year’s county council elections because of the work I have done and continue to do, which is what matters and seems to be appreciated.”