Cllr Byrom has had a nice little earner as Tory chairman of the Merseyside Fire & Rescue Authority (£7,596). Sadly (for him) his term comes to an end next week, and the Tory leader on Sefton Borough Council has decided not to renominate him. He has moved heaven and earth to try to get her to reverse the decision, but she has stuck to her guns. He even tried to enlist the support of Bob Neill and Eric Pickles. Why is he so anxious? Because without that position, he cannot continue as Chairman of the LGA Fire Committee (remuneration £9,996). So by losing these two jobs, Cllr Byrom has lost more than £17,500 in allowances.
When I spoke to Eric on something else half an hour ago his ghast was well and truly flabbered. He said he was astounded at Byrom's defection and what he was saying on the BBC News Channel, especially given the email he and Bob Neill had received from him after Crewe & Nantwich. Eric has given me full permission to quote from the email. Here's what Mr Byrom thought, only two weeks ago...
Great result in Crewe, I picked up the vibes last Friday as Janice and I pounded the streets and council houses, Labour were in for a kicking, but it brings us renewed confidence, the press and establishment are now predicting a Tory Government, there is a buzz about our next administration and we are on the way back.
Also reflects well on the Local Government team and Eric, with good press coverage.
Doesn't sound to me like an unhappy Conservative. He goes on in the email to berate the leader of his council group for her plans not to renominate him to the Fire Authority, which would then place in jeopardy his place on the LGA Fire Committee. He pleads with Bob Neill and Eric Pickles to intervene and save his position. They, however, felt unable to do so as it is entirely down to the local group leader how she allocates jobs like this.
So Les Byrom sees both his sinecures disappearing and decides to defect on the spurious pretence of disagreeing with the Tory leadership on 42 days. How convenient for that to happen a day before the vote.
Perhaps Cllr Byrom could tell the truth and stop pretending it's about 42 days, when it so clearly is not.
PS Thank you to my correspondent who has sent me the above picture of Cllr Byrom. I assume that he will be instantly branded a 'toff' by Labour HQ and ejected from the party immediately.
UPDATE 6pm: Hmmm, Cllr Byrom has certainly built up some enemies over the years judging by the avalanche of emails which I have been sent over the last hour. Excuse me while I filter them...
UPDATE: Having been a candidate for four parliamentary elections and two EU ones, his applications to get on the candidates list after 2005, and again last year, were rejected.
UPDATE: Reaction from the Southport Visitor.