Calls for the leader of Norfolk County Council to resign and for the authority to be more “open and transparent” were made at a public meeting today.

To send a link to this page to a friend, you must be logged in.

Three candidates standing in the county council by-election for the Clenchwarton and King’s Lynn South division took part in a question and answer session at South Lynn Community Centre this morning.

The event was chaired by anti-incinerator campaigner Mike Knights and saw Alex Kemp (Labour), Kate Sayer (Lib Dem) and Michael Stone (UKIP) answer a plethora of questions about the controversial plan to build an incinerator in Saddlebow and on Norfolk County Council, which awarded a contract for the scheme to Cory Wheelabrator.

Mr Knights began the meeting by announcing that the fourth candidate for the upcoming by-election, Paul Foster (Conservative), pulled out last night because he felt he would not get a “fair hearing”.

The candidates were then asked what they thought would stop the incinerator plan and what they would do to ensure it was stopped and what their views were of current county council leadership.

They were also asked how they would go about making the county council more accountable for its actions and gain back public trust and if they thought the county council leader should step down.

The Labour candidate said she wanted the county council to be “much more transparent and open” about the incinerator plan.

She also told residents: “I don’t believe the Tory county party has the interest of this area at heart.

“The county council is happy for us to have all of Norfolk’s waste come here but we deserve better.”

She later added: “I find it amazing Derrick Murphy can represent this area but ignore the wishes of 65,000 people who voted against the plan in the referendum held by the borough council. Mr Murphy should resign.”

Meanwhile the candidate for the Liberal Democrats said the only way to stop the incinerator from going ahead was if enough county councillors said they didn’t want it.

She also told the meeting: “I’m appalled by the current leadership at the county council. It has shown disrespect for people in this area and we have lost trust in the county council completely.

“Norfolk County Council has made no attempt to increase recycling. The surrounding counties are up to 70pc mark and if we did that, we would never need an incinerator.

“There are also much better ways of dealing with waste than incineration.”

She later added: “The only way to make the county council more accountable is to hold an inquiry which will bring out their inability to be open with the people of West Norfolk.”

Answering another question, she said: “He [Derrick Murphy] has already run away from West Norfolk hasn’t he? I think he has behaved despicably.

“He wasn’t prepared to listen to the views of the people of West Norfolk. He has an arrogance that doesn’t allow him to recognise we have an democracy in Norfolk.”

The UK Independence candidate said he believed the county council “panicked” by coming up with its “unhealthy and dangerous” solution to Norfolk’s waste problems.

He later added: “If no-one votes for the Conservative party in this by-election, it will deliver a large enough message to County Hall that we don’t want the incinerator.”

Referring to the county council leader, he continued: “If this incinerator is such a good idea why doesn’t he take it with him? It has been too easy for him to run away. He should step down in shame.”

The by-election, which will take place on Thursday, September 27, was triggered following the death of Conservative David Harwood.

Speaking after the meeting, Mike Knights said: “All four candidates had agreed in advance to participate in this event giving them an excellent opportunity for public engagement.

“Although the meeting was a success it is regrettable Conservative candidate Paul Foster decided to pull out at the last minute.

“He missed a golden opportunity to put his case to the public and answer his critics. He had wrongly assumed that he would not get a fair hearing.”

Mr Knights added: “The candidates gave a good account of themselves and there was a friendly and good natured atmosphere between all parties without the hostilities sometimes seen in contentious by elections.”

Also speaking after the meeting, Norfolk County Council leader Derrick Murphy said he had no intention of resigning.

“If I or the county council has done something wrong, then I would ask for it to be proven,” he told the EDP. “I follow government policy.

“I also run the biggest majority of any party to have held Norfolk County Council and I would ask Ms Sayer why, if her party is so wonderful, two of her party defected to the Conservative party last year?

“She is trying to win an election in a time where her political party is at an all-time low in the polls so I’m not surprised she has said what she has. I would, however, ask what evidence she has to base her statements.”

He continued: “Openness and transparency are the bedrock of any democracy and if I or Norfolk County Council has done anything wrong, individuals can hold us to account.

“The current government, the last time I looked, was a coalition between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats and it was a department of this government which has given us the biggest grant in Norfolk County Council’s history.”

19 comments

  • Nemesis, is this the same Standards Committee who for years have swept aside all previous complaints against councillors, recently changed the rules to make it almost impossible to get a complaint to even stick, elected their former Chairman as the 'Independent person', and presided over by nplaw who work hand in glove with the NCC? I can’t help thinking they have a rather cosy little set up.

    Report this comment

    Honest John

    Monday, September 24, 2012

  • Mr Murphy was on Radio Norfolk this afternoon championing the benefits of the NCC pension scheme. They invest in the tobacco industry. Not only controversial investing in cancer but this industry is on a steep downward spiral. Reminds me when NCC lost £38.5 million to the Icelandic banks. I just wonder has their pension scheme fund ever had shares in Cory, Wheelabrator technologies, or their parent company Waste Management in the USA. Any contractors like RG Carters, BAM Construction.

    Report this comment

    Choice

    Tuesday, September 25, 2012

  • Derrick Murphy's comments ring hollow with someone who has been trying to hold his administration to account for a lack of openness and transparency for a long time. And as for his statement "I follow government policy", when did the government ordain that it is "policy" to use a young inexperienced employee of NCC to undermine politically the leader of another local authority? He might also want to remind himself that "the biggest grant in NCC's history" is currently under challenge in the High Court and that the waste incinerator project that it was intended to help finance has now completely stalled

    Report this comment

    John Martin

    Monday, September 24, 2012

  • The public do not want just to hear Paul Foster say he would not only support a vote on the incinerator. They want to know what actions had he taken previously. He should have supported his colleagues Brian Long and John Dobson. Next May there will be many Tory West Norfolk’s County Councillor casualties including Derrick Murphy may not be on the scene. They had the chance to show the public what they are made of, but they preferred not to lose valuable financial benefits for not agreeing with the leader.

    Report this comment

    batemansusan

    Sunday, September 23, 2012

  • I just hope the same questions and answers are being sort at the May County Elections. Langwade, Rockcliffe, Hutson and any Murphy’s all invited.

    Report this comment

    Alan Allan

    Sunday, September 23, 2012

  • Mr Murphy, How can individuals hold NCC to account? Not by a 3 stage complaints procedure where NCC is its own judge and jury. If dissatisfied, one can go to the Local Government Ombudsman who might, if the complainant is really lucky, write back to the council with a stern ticking off, so no luck there either. Questions to cabinet are limited to a short paragraph and to two per meeting; answers are invariably evasive. I wonder why? FOI requests are often misunderstood, ignored, late and usually redacted. Well, there's openness for you. Roll on the elections in May... Perhaps we can finally get some accountability? P.S. Why do you have such a personal interest in forcing through an obsolete waste incinrator "with the heel of your boot" against the overwhelming wishes of your electorate?

    Report this comment

    Kadmos

    Monday, September 24, 2012

  • If Foster is too scared to explain himself along side the other candidates what use would he be at County Hall? KLWIN's news letter explains why he is not popular with campaigners. There's enough twin hatted councillors already voting one way at the Borough and then doing what Murphy wants at County hall to try and get in Murphys 'good books'.

    Report this comment

    Voter 65,516

    Sunday, September 23, 2012

  • In his statement Paul Foster said: "I will not support or vote in favour of the Willows Incinerator." Exactly, a vote for Paul Foster in the elections will simply be for someone who sits on the fence and abstains at important times, there are too many like that already in Norfolk. Perhaps Derrick Murphy told him not to attend the meeting, either way he has proved he hasn't got the courage to stand up and account for himself at local level, and he would be another liability for the people of West Norfolk at County Hall. We should be grateful to him for revealing this before the vote, so thank you Mr Foster.

    Report this comment

    Honest John

    Sunday, September 23, 2012

  • That would be 5 vs.5 with the chair having the casting vote, nemesis, ensuring that controversial decisions are pushed through with the chairs vote. BTW. The KLWIN needs money, they have to spend out on consultants to counter the arguments of the Government to pollute the public's health some more.

    Report this comment

    ingo wagenknecht

    Monday, September 24, 2012

  • "Openness and transparency are the bedrock of any democracy and if I or Norfolk County Council has done anything wrong, individuals can hold us to account." said the man who used a county employee to try and smear a fellow Tory and then got his acolytes to bury the resulting report in a very very deep hole. It seems that the concept of accountablity is lost when it comes to leadership at NCC?

    Report this comment

    User Removed

    Tuesday, September 25, 2012

  • Foster appears to have lost his bottle. The Conservatives do not need quitters like him. What good would he be in a crisis if he cannot handle this ? Better off without him.

    Report this comment

    Dickens

    Saturday, September 22, 2012

  • Thanks to Mike Knight for organising this event. Those who abstained will be seen as quitters. Agree with comments about Stephen Bett, he equally sat on the fence on many issues. Mervyn Lambert has the backbone and resolve Mr. Bett always lacked and his successful election will send a shiver down the spine of party politicians. It will also be the best launch for more Independents trying next year, sending a clear message to party politicians that they are not indispensable.

    Report this comment

    ingo wagenknecht

    Sunday, September 23, 2012

  • Mr Murphy, How can individuals hold NCC to account? Not by a 3 stage complaints procedure where NCC is its own judge and jury. If dissatisfied, one can go to the Local Government Ombudsman who might, if the complainant is really lucky, write back to the council with a stern ticking off, so no luck there either. Questions to cabinet are limited to a short paragraph and to two per meeting; answers are invariably evasive. I wonder why? FOI requests are often misunderstood, ignored, late and usually redacted. Well, there's openness for you. Roll on the elections in May... Perhaps we can finally get some accountability? P.S. Why do you have such a personal interest in forcing through an obsolete waste incinrator "with the heel of your boot" against the overwhelming wishes of your electorate?

    Report this comment

    Kadmos

    Monday, September 24, 2012

  • No, Ingo. It is five to two. The chair's casting vote is likely to be irrelevant.

    Report this comment

    Nemesis

    Monday, September 24, 2012

  • Stephen Bett has to resign from the party or he will be thrown out, I wish him well but he is a silly man. No doubt Murphy promised him the seat which didn't come through. I do not believe Mr Foster is worth the cross on the voting slip, I think you will find he is part of the gang who tried to undermine the Borough and the Leader of the Borough. I have never seen him or his mate do anything worth while and therefore he is not worth the vote. I think UKIP is the best option for County and the Tory lady is best for Borough. Thats just my view as none of the others will help you.

    Report this comment

    Sweet cheeks

    Sunday, September 23, 2012

  • Yes Derrick Murphy was on Radio Norfolk full of his self importance. When the commenter asked him does he think it is ethical to invest money in the tobacco industry to support NCC pension fund. Derrick suggested he looks at his own BBC pension fund that invests far more money in tobacco than NCC. Most voters at Clenchwarton would have listened to this news item and remind them to go out and vote wisely.

    Report this comment

    Alan Allan

    Tuesday, September 25, 2012

  • Problem with Derrick Murphy is he has consulted far too many born again spin doctors that convinced him Norfolk folk are a push over and treat them like sheep. It was interesting at the last Borough Council elections no Tories were selected to stand where four Tory County Councillors live (Watlington) including Derrick Murphy. Dr Ian Mack LIB DEMS was elected.

    Report this comment

    Choice

    Saturday, September 22, 2012

  • Kadmos, we may not have to wait until next May. It is rumoured that NCC has now appointed a London QC to investigate Murphy’s role in Kevingate. (This is as a result of the conduct complaints made against him by members of the public.) If the investigation report is as damning as I believe it should be, the complaints will go before the NCC Standards Committee. While it has no power to suspend Murphy, it could strip him of the leadership role. That is the good news. The bad news is that there are no longer any independent members of the public on the Standards Committee; only councillors. The even worse news if that the make up is five Conservatives, one Lib Dem and one Green.

    Report this comment

    Nemesis

    Monday, September 24, 2012

  • Has the past chairman of the Police Authority resigned as a County Councillor as well as from the Conservative party? Can he truly be seen as an Independent? Who is funding his new campaign for Police mastermind? Another election in the offing?

    Report this comment

    bedoomed

    Sunday, September 23, 2012

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Norfolk Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 17°C

min temp: 10°C

Five-day forecast

loading...

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT