The naming and shaming of Kirklees councillors who failed to cough up their council tax is among the first in the country.

Last week it was revealed that Bradford Council had eight members in a similar situation, including former leader David Green who earned almost £50,000.

But prior to that newspapers had struggled to get councils to reveal the identities of elected members who were not following their own rules.

A number of Yorkshire councils, including Leeds City Council, are currently refusing to reveal if they have any culprits.

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Their decision appears to be at odds with Government advice and legal precedent.

The Local Government Finance Act makes it an offence for a councillor who is two months or more in council tax arrears to vote at a meeting of the council where financial matters relating to council tax are being considered.

It is also an offence if any such councillor present, who is aware of the arrears, fails to disclose that they are in arrears of council tax.

In 2014 Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Brandon Lewis, said there was a strong public interest in naming those who could not vote on matters because of council tax arrears.

A Kirklees Council meeting

He said: “I am aware that, in response to Freedom of Information Act requests, it is common for local authorities to refuse to name individual councillors in council tax arrears, citing ‘data protection’.

“While noting that individual tax affairs are a personal matter, Ministers believe that there is a strong public interest in the names of councillors who are barred from voting being accessible to the wider public.”

The protecting of councillors changed in March this year when the Bolton News managed to overturn a ruling banning the naming of a councillor who was thousands in arrears to his own council.

The paper spent more than three years battling the council and the Information Commissioner before winning an Upper Tribunal Appeal.

Kirklees Council lawyers cite the so-called Haslam case in their decision to identify the majority of the Kirklees culprits.

In their statement to the Examiner’s Freedom of Information request, they state that “...the applicant (and the public at large), have a legitimate interest in scrutinising the council tax information related to elected public officials...”

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Should councillors who failed to pay council tax on time lose their seats?

With all culprits now fully paid up it appears there will be no further consequences.

But should those who stand for public office but fail to pay taxes on time be allowed to carry on in their roles?

It appears so!

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READ MORE: Kirklees councillors' expenses revealed: See who claimed what last year

The Local Government Association and Local Government Ombudsman said the matter did not concern them and was down to Kirklees Council.

Kirklees Council has said any repercussions lie with the political parties themselves.

So far there is no sign of Labour taking any disciplinary action or any resignations.

All four councillors involved are in safe Labour seats so any hopes of a series of by-elections shifting the balance of power would seem unfounded.