A Tameside councillor has quit his post as James Purnell’s right hand man — for his love of sign language.
Councillor Sean Parker-Perry decided to seek a fresh challenge after several years working in Hyde town hall as parliamentary political operative for the Stalybridge and Hyde MP.
The Longdendale councillor is returning to college to complete his sign language qualifications.
But he has moved to quash rumours there was anything sinister behind his sudden move.
"Nothing could be further from the truth. I have not been sacked and the door is always open," he said. "I’ve been planning to leave for a while and I’ll be enrolling back at college to update my skills. It was purely my decision. Working for four years at that level in parliament is a long time. Most people take stock of their careers every few years and I’m no different. If it was 10 years ago, the obvious route would be to move to London and climb the ladder that way. But I’m 33 and have a young family so I have commitments here. That has to take priority. My first love is my job as a councillor and chairing the district assembly. That’s why I got into politics. It has been a juggling act. Now I can dedicate more time to concentrate on council business."
A spokesman in Mr Purnell’s office said: "We wish him every success for the future."
We have our own views about how truthful this latest twist is, and a prize of a limited edition 'No Mottram Bypass' badge (can't get them in the shops or anywhere else) goes to the first person to translate the above phrase, no doubt popular at Sean's BSL class. Answers in the comment to this post please!
Update, 6th October 2008: we forgot to note that the article was written by our favourite Advertiser journalist Adam Derbyshire. 'Nuff said...