AN OXFORDSHIRE county councillor has defended holding another council post more than 70 miles away after being elected a borough and parish councillor in Hampshire earlier this month.

Tim Bearder was elected to represent Wheatley in November, and won a seat on Eastleigh Borough Council on May 2.

The Liberal Democrat claimed it is ‘not relevant’ to his work in Oxfordshire that he won council seats more than 70 miles away.

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Mr Bearder said he lived in both Oxford and Hampshire, spent half his time in both places and is able carry out his duties as a councillor.

He said: “I’ve lived in Eastleigh since 2016 and it’s never affected my [councillor] work. I am a filmmaker and I live in both places.

“It’s not relevant. I live in Oxford and I feel I can complete my responsibilities better than the Conservatives. If you speak to any of the parish councils… [and] ask if they think I’m doing a good job. I am very active in the local community.”

He added: “If I was just elected and never [in Oxfordshire] they would have a legitimate cause for concern.”

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Mr Bearder has not declared his roles in Eastleigh on his Oxfordshire county councillor page. Eastleigh Borough Council said new councillors still had about 10 days to declare their interests to it.

Doug Lamont, the chairman of Wheatley Parish Council, said: “I wasn’t aware [of Mr Bearder being a councillor in Eastleigh]. It would be a concern and that is as much as I would want to say without consulting with my fellow councillors.”

Mr Bearder, a former BBC Oxford presenter, was also elected as a member of West End Parish Council, also in Hampshire, on May 2.

He said he had campaigned in South Oxfordshire in the run-up to this month’s local elections and in Hampshire for his own elections.

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Ian Hudspeth, the leader of Oxfordshire County Council, said: “Obviously, what he’s done is something he’s perfectly entitled to do in putting himself forward.”

He added: “It’s for the electorate to decide whether that is the best way.”

An Oxfordshire county council spokesman said it was up to Mr Bearder to declare whether he had been elected to another council.

It is not unusual for councillors to sit on more than one authority in Oxfordshire. For example, David Bartholomew, the county council’s member for finance, was elected earlier this month to sit on South Oxfordshire District Council as a Conservative.

But he represents Sonning Common on both councils.

Similarly, Emily Smith, recently appointed Vale of White Horse District Council's leader, represents Botley and Sunningwell ward for the Lib Dems. She represents Abingdon North on the county council.

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But it is extremely rare for councillors to represent wards so far apart like Mr Bearder.

He claimed having other roles in Hampshire would ‘enhance’ his role – and bring in new skills from there to Oxfordshire.

Mr Bearder is entitled to a monthly allowance of £893.25 as a county councillor and an annual allowance of £7,011.50 as an Eastleigh Borough councillor.

In March, a former Cambridgeshire county councillor resigned his post a year after he had moved to Scotland.

Donald Adey had moved from his Trumpington ward in Cambridge to Fife, 400 miles away, in 2018.

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He was the last of Cambridgeshire’s county councillors to give up a 1.2 per cent hike to his allowance. Councillors used that as a move of solidarity to support staff forced to take unpaid leave ahead of council cuts.

Mr Adey had been a member of the Lib Dems but quit the party in 2018 and sat as an independent.