Chalked off the list for being too old?

By Connie Osborne Friday 11 April 2014 Updated: 11/04 09:37

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A BOROUGH councillor says he has been left hurt and humiliated after being deselected from a seat he has served for 20 years.

Coun Michael Chalk, who has sat on the borough council on and off for over 30 years and currently represents the Astwood Bank and Feckenham Ward, said he believed his age was behind the decision.

Despite having held the seat since 1994, the 68-year-old had to go through a selection process organised by the Conservative party where he was interviewed for the chance to stand again in May’s forthcoming borough council election.

But despite his long record of service Mr Chalk was overlooked in favour of former county councillor and ex-education portfolio holder Jane Potter.

“If someone said to me Mike you’re getting older would you step down and we get someone else in, I would have said I don’t believe you but fair enough and I could retire gracefully,” he told the Standard.

“But I had the humiliation of being put through the committee and being unsuccessful. I was hurt and I was hurt when they wanted to hold the selection.”

He added ‘looking back in anger was a bit over the top’ but he believed he had done a good job as a councillor for the ward.

“I believe that with a few exceptions, for the most part, I have generated a great deal of support for the ward and the rest of the constituency.”

But David Thain, chairman of Redditch County Conservatives, denied the decision had anything to do with Mr Chalk’s age.

“Nobody has the God given right to stay in a seat without going through the selection process,” he said.

“It was an open process and Mike put his name forward as did others and was considered.

“A true selection took place and a decision was made on the basis of what would be the best position to keep the seat for the Conservatives.”

The Standard reported last week how Mr Chalk had issued a parting shot at his final full council meeting warning new candidates they would struggle to influence the future of the town because they would be expected to vote how their party wanted them to and the dominance of the decision-making executive committee.

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