A WOULD-BE councillor who missed out on her “rightful” place because of an electoral blunder has been denied the seat for a second time.

Karen Groucott received more than 300 votes in May’s local election, considerably more than her husband Paul who was also standing for Silloth Town Council.

But when the chief returning officer read out his name by mistake, electoral law dictated that the result though announced in error must stand.

And now, in a fresh blow, someone else has been co-opted onto the council in Mrs Groucott’s place, dashing her election hopes yet again.

Members voted in favour of Paul Donald by five votes to four, even though he did not stand in May’s election.

The move has provoked an outcry among those councillors who wanted to see the will of the people respected, with three of them walking out in disgust after the results of the secret ballot were revealed.

Among them was Councillor John Cook who blasted members who did not vote Mrs Groucott into her “rightful seat.”

He described the move “disgusting”, a “travesty for democracy” and said he was now considering his future on the town council.

Mr Cook, who also serves on the borough council executive, said: “What happened was legal, but it wasn’t morally correct. I feel the town council has not listened to the community and the electorate.

“There has been a lot of stress on Karen’s head. She is a well-respected woman who has been denied a seat through no fault of her own.

“Pete did the honourable thing by standing down so the council could co-opt his wife on at the next meeting and take her rightful place.”

Owen Martin, who serves on the borough and town councillor, also walked out “in disgust” amid claims some members had failed to respect the will of the people.

Writing in a social media post, he too said that he would be “seriously thinking” about his future on the town council.

Allerdale Council had been advising the town council on how to deal with the aftermath of its returning officer’s mistake.

The authority gave the town council three options to remedy the situation.

The first was to accept the result and for Peter Groucott take up his position; the second to issue a formal petition asking for the result to be changed; the third to co-opt a councillor to the vacant seat.

Town clerk Wendy Jameson said the Groucotts decided they would not issue a petition, adding that she was told Mr Groucott would not be taking up his position.

An email sent to Mr Groucott asking him to confirm this in writing, but no reply was forthcoming.

However, he attended a meeting and took up his seat before later handing in his letter of resignation.

The vacancy was then advertised for 14 days as required by law, and because there was no request for an election, the town council could then proceed with co-opting.

But town council members voted not for Mrs Groucott but for Paul Donald by five votes to four.

In a public statement on her Facebook page, Mrs Groucott thanked everyone who voted for her in the town elections.

She added: “Unfortunately due to the mistake by Allerdale I had to be co-opted by the council into the vacant seat tonight. It was the seat that Pete resigned from to allow me to take up my rightful seat.

“At the meeting tonight Paul Donald has been co-opted on.

“Thanks to Carmel, Mark, Owen and John for their vote. Jackie and Mel were not allowed to vote for me due to their absence. ”