Conservatives to discuss deal with UKIP to take back control of Norfolk County Council

The Conservatives are considering a deal which could put them back in control of Norfolk County Council. The Conservatives are considering a deal which could put them back in control of Norfolk County Council.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014
3:55 PM

Discussions have been taking place over whether the Conservatives and the UK Independence Party could join forces to strike a deal which could put the Tories back in control of Norfolk County Council.

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UKIP approached the Conservative group last Friday over a “common understanding” which would enable the Tories to take control of County Hall at next week’s annual general meeting.

UKIP currently support the Labour/Liberal Democrat administration, but an email sent by Conservative deputy leader Ian Mackie reveals they could be prepared to switch sides.

In the email, Mr Mackie writes: “Given where we have been, and where we could end up from now until 2017, this is a considerable turn-around, it will give us 60pc control with 45pc of the council,

“It will also ensure that we would have 63 votes in full council and represent 75pc of the votes cast in Norfolk.

“This once only offer is from May 2014 until 2017.”

The Conservative group met behind closed doors last night, where leader Tom FitzPatrick updated members on UKIP’s approach, although he stressed no decision had been taken. The group is due to meet again on Friday.

He said: “We will listen to UKIP or anyone else who approaches us with ideas.” But he added: “Over the past year they have voted with Labour most of the time against us so it’s difficult to see how a deal could be done, but we will listen them for the good of Norfolk.”

UKIP leader Toby Coke confirmed that his party had made an approach to the Conservatives and added: “There’s not much point me commenting on anything until we have had our group meeting on Friday.”

With the council set to switch to a committee system after next Tuesday’s annual meeting, the email from Mr Mackie outlines who would occupy a number of posts, if a deal is agreed.

The leader of the council would be a Conservative, while the Tories would also have chairman positions on policy and resources, communities, adult services and the economic development committee. They would hold vice-chairman posts in children’s services and adult services.

The email said UKIP leader Toby Coke would become chairman of the environment, development and transport committee, with Liberal Democrat James Joyce as chairman of children’s services.

Mr Mackie wrote in the email: “This would be a common understanding, not a formal Con/UKIP/Lib coalition.”

He also pointed to how much Conservative members stood to receive in special responsibility allowances based on the new set-up and said: “Conservatives would have the status, office and profile to assist in the 2015 elections, ensuring we are the ones to deliver a zero council tax freeze in election year.”

The Conservatives lost control of Norfolk County Council in elections a year ago. The current political make-up of the authority is 40 Conservative members, 14 Labour, 13 UKIP, 10 Liberal Democrats, 4 Greens 2 Independent and 1 Non-Aligned.

George Nobbs, the Labour leader of Norfolk County Council, said: “This is entirely a matter for the Conservative party. My interests are, as ever, about what is best for the people of Norfolk.

“I would not conduct any negotiations via the media, no matter how distinguished the journalist or respected the publication.”

The Liberal Democrat leader Marie Strong was not available for comment.

47 comments

  • @ Watson. The number of seats compared with the other parties gives the Conservatives more than double the democratic validity of Labour or UKIP to “rule” us. 40 out of 84 seats. They had more of the votes than the others! @ Ingo you really must give up the conspiracy theories of back room deals. It’s eating you up. @ Martin, whichever way you cut it, whilst the Conservatives were committed to the incinerator, the cost of £34M for the incinerator was a result of it not going ahead, and that decision was made by the rainbow alliance appeasing the rowdy minority.

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    Andy T

    Friday, May 23, 2014

  • Well imagine that, Marie Strong putting aside differences to work together and put political differences aside! So far she has actively been out to block anything done by the Conservatives and alienate them. Not really working together is it, although this recent statement could be because she can see everything the Lib Dems have at the moment slipping away. And Unison worried about a “mature” approach. What’s that all about? The Lib Dems have been like an annoying tick in the side of the Conservatives. The Conservatives owe the Lib Dems nothing so the sooner the irritation is removed the better. Personally I think the Conservatives should decline a coalition of any kind. We are now stuck with a LabourLib Dem budget. If the Conservatives take over they will be stuck with administering it. At the next election when we are really on our knees, most people will forget it was Labour’s budget and blame the Conservatives. Labour & Lib Dem made this financial bed. Let them sleep in it.

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    Andy T

    Friday, May 23, 2014

  • I really hope the party that wins control or has most votes doesn't make an alliance with anyone as all councillors are voted by us and elected as such for their promises so need to be heard, not manipulated by one party joining with another, such as the current government. This has shown it doesn't work, Lib Dems just ended up as Tory puppets and UKIP will be the same.

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    Karen Weller

    Friday, May 23, 2014

  • Cant wait to see the Yarmouth result election result later today, let alone the European result in due course, so far at 3.30 am Ukip have taken 69 seats the comservatives must see the writing on the wall roll on next year when the majority of local councils and the general election. Cameron will regret trying to build incinerators in every county, Hs2, fracking, the state of our roads, the state of our nhs, the state of out schools and most importantly ignoring the electorate! He promised localism, a big society, but in reality what we all saw was a total disregard for democracy.

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    Canary Boy

    Friday, May 23, 2014

  • Thank you to Marie Strong for putting the record straight. It would seem Mackie has been up to his usual d.irty tric.ks and I'm beginning to think this has been leaked by the Con men to deliberately ta.rnish UKIP’s rep.utation. Every single UKIP member has been instrumental in the last year and both the Conservatives and Labour see them as a major th.reat. I sincerely hope the Rainbow Alliance do the right thing and select Toby Coke as their challenger to the Conservatives it is the only way we will see any real positive change in Norfolk, but of course the fly in the ointment will of course be GNobbs.

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    Honest John

    Thursday, May 22, 2014

  • -PaulH.About this alleged three quid.I will arrange an appointment in your usual office at the top of the road but I fear,as usual,you are suffering from selective memory loss.

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    Peter Watson

    Thursday, May 22, 2014

  • They are planning an alliance and this is before the election. The incompetence of Norfolk's Tory run council has just cost us over £33 million (Tory run at the time of drawing up the incinerator plans) at a time of deep cuts to its budget. The Tory MPs (Hooray Henry Bellingham and Truss) have done diddly squit about getting the money back. And now the Tories are planning an alliance with UKIP, a party which has only one policy, to get out of Europe, something that Norfolk County Council cannot do.. Whatever you do people of Norfolk don't vote for either of these parties in the council election. Don't spoil your ballot, but don't vote for Tory incompetence or UKIP.

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    pablo

    Thursday, May 22, 2014

  • Spot on, Honest John - unlike John Martin's take on this. It is in the public interest for Conservatives, UKIP and LibDems to cooperate, because in doing so they would represent a majority of the voting electorate. I dare say that plenty of UKIP supporters have got fed up with working alongside Labour and have been pushing their representatives for a change of tack. The only hanky panky in all this is the conflation of Cllr Mackie's email, which is largely factual and proposes a perfectly sensible course of action, by those seeking to put party politics ahead of the County's interests.

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    Jack1956

    Wednesday, May 21, 2014

  • Technically speaking Honest John all of them should have used their private addresses. Council addresses are for council business only and I am sure you will agree secretive hanky panky about carving up the County does not constitute Council business. Or maybe the Tories who regard Norfolk as their own personal property may beg to differ.

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    alecto

    Wednesday, May 21, 2014

  • Having seen the email, I’m surprised no mention was made that all but 2 private email addresses were used, how frequently is this done to avoid being monitored? Why has all the focus been on UKIP when the Lib Dems are equally involved here and their support of the Con Party alone would tip the balance? Hardly a surprise Marie Strong wasn’t available for comment, the Lib Dems seem to be the party that will join up with anyone in return for a bit of power. The one thing to relish would be seeing the GNobbs having to go back to opposing everything the Conservatives put forward, having completed his own very Tory blue year as Leader of the T.urncoat Party. What a mess!

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    Honest John

    Wednesday, May 21, 2014

  • It needs to be remembered that it was an approach from UKIP to the Conservatives (and not the other way round) that triggered these discussions. It should also be noted that the arrangement would also have included the Liberal Democrats and thus three-quarters of the elected members. Given that no party has an overall majority, it makes sense for Council to be run by the majority of its members rather than just 24 out of 84 as at present. We will have to wait until the annual meeting to see what emerges. By the way, under the new committee-based system, the post of Leader of the Council ceases to have any formal powers. It becomes a subsidiary title for the Chairman of the Policy and Resources Committee.

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    Old Hand

    Wednesday, May 21, 2014

  • Thanks Canary Boy for explaining that. And you are quite right. UKIP may not have been aware of this. And many thanks for passing on the good news John Martin. After reading that appalling email from Mackie I think Old Nick would have had trouble entering into an alliance with the Tories. I would suggest they distance themselves from this individual rather rapidly because when the email makes the rounds as it surely will it will be their responsibility not the meanderings of one person. And where was the actual leader of the Tories in all of this? Too busy running North Norfolk I'll be bound.

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    alecto

    Wednesday, May 21, 2014

  • Alecto most readers will not know what - strong leader - means so I explain. If the leader chosen is chosen on the basis of a -strong leader- that means that regardless of the wishes of the council in the future that leader remains leader, if he so wishes, for the full political term and cannot e ousted by a vote of no confidence until the end of the political term. The UKIP boys are new and may not realise this danger. I am happier today that if the tories do form this unholy alliance they wil achieve nothing more than a poison challis UKIP have no whip and the majority will not vote with the tories. The dedicated and genuine cllrs I have spoken to will see to it that the tories never have a free hand at county hall so Mackies plans are scuppered. My vote will still go UKIP tomorrow because one way or another they have defeated the Norfolk true blue hold.

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    Canary Boy

    Wednesday, May 21, 2014

  • According to Radio Norfolk, the Conservative Group has now announced that it will not be going ahead with this arrangement. This leaves Cllr Ian Mackie with egg on his face, and an embarrassing e-mail in the public domain testifying to his desire to put greed and political ambition before the public interest. It also leaves Cllr Toby Coke damaged below the waterline for his apparent eagerness to prop up a collection of individuals who have just cost the people of Norfolk £34m for no return.

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    John Martin

    Wednesday, May 21, 2014

  • Che Bramley you are low rent

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    PaulH

    Wednesday, May 21, 2014

  • This story just goes to prove how much the Conservatives have lost the plot. As Anne Robinson would say, The Tory Party you are the Weakest Link, Goodbye !!!

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    che bramley

    Wednesday, May 21, 2014

  • If this unpleasant alliance has been done without the Lib Dems and UKIP realising that if they allow the Tory bloke to be a strong leader then they are well and truly sunk. They must know that it will only be a matter of time before the Tories get up to their nasty tricks again and if there is a strong leader in place then we cannot get rid of a plague of Tories until they are voted out. And any group that has Mackie involved in it is a really nasty party. I wouldn't touch it with a barge pole. And Coke and Baker can wave goodbye to their parliamentary aspirations. No-one will help them and no-one will vote for them. And I wouldnt fancy their chances with their own party once the news gets out to other UKIP area campaign teams working so hard to rid this country of the nasty party.

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    alecto

    Tuesday, May 20, 2014

  • UKIP voted for the change to a committee system as they thought the Cabinet system was unrepresentative. If they really want to get seriously involved in County Council decision making they will keep themselves to themselves and build up strength through representing their electorate.The Coalition is not perfect, but it is a whole lot better than a return to Conservative control. Persist with the Coalition under a new leader chosen by one man, one vote and no whip!

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    bedoomed

    Tuesday, May 20, 2014

  • UKIP has done well in its first year - kept to its election pledges and brought democracy back to County Hall. This was done without being part of any formal coalition but by supporting common sense policies. It should continue with this approach in the future. This is what the people of Norfolk have come to expect and deserve from this party.

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    Barbara

    Tuesday, May 20, 2014

  • ukip .A party of the future , The libdems ,A party of the past

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    milecross

    Tuesday, May 20, 2014

  • After the incompetence show by the Tory Council regarding the Incinerator can we afford to have them back in power.I would suggest the answer is NO.

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    Norfolkman

    Tuesday, May 20, 2014

  • PW is that a threat Russia did that to its neighbours.Pistols at dawn Mousehold. Ps you owe me three quid over that bet remember

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    PaulH

    Tuesday, May 20, 2014

  • This is a damned good reason never to vote UKIP as they are just the ugly side of the Tories, if that's possible.

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    Vic Sponge

    Tuesday, May 20, 2014

  • Told you so. How do you feel now? Celebrations a bit premature? Bubbly gone a bit flat has it ? Mugs.

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    Del Boy

    Tuesday, May 20, 2014

  • This once great country of ours has been sold down the river by all sorts of so called politicians and taken very close to economic disaster. Banking Crisis, credit crunch, housing market crisis, PPI and energy miss-selling, education and health services in disarray etc for starters. Until we get professional, open representation from stalwart individuals who are prepared to stand up for our citizens, our rights and our nation we will continue to wallow in the mire. What ever happened to all the Heroes. Sadly we are still living in the dark ages. Time for change, use your vote and use it wisely.

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    Grey Fox

    Tuesday, May 20, 2014

  • Cheeks-I will continue to teach you Tories the error of your ways.

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    Peter Watson

    Tuesday, May 20, 2014

  • Watson I do have to agree with you on that one, just don't make out that Labour are so wonderful as they are not.

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    Sweet cheeks

    Tuesday, May 20, 2014

  • PaulH-Norwich is a civilised city that has consistently rejected the rabid right.

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    Peter Watson

    Tuesday, May 20, 2014

  • Beginning to wonder if this email was leaked with the sole aim of disrupting Thursdays election. Mackie has gone into his cupboard and wont comment Fitz is nowhere to be seen so as it stands- unless UKIP clarify the true sitiation- the losers on Thursday are UKIP! The con.men know the only way to defeat public support for UKIP is to use dirty tactics so as Andrew Sinclair said on Look East the con.men will regain control either via an alliance or, due to the email, breaking the rainbow alliance assunder! Yet another dark day in the dirty politics so enjoyed by the Norfolk con group!

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    Canary Boy

    Tuesday, May 20, 2014

  • I think Peter Watson would prefer a hammer and sickle flag hanging over Norwich.Well with the Greens nationalization of public services policies,and its support amongst the Golden Triangle affluent leftie set,he may soon have one. What a shower.

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    PaulH

    Tuesday, May 20, 2014

  • Who cares abut the allowances and what's back room about this proposal? Someone will get them whoever ends up leading the committees and this has been on the cards for a while. It looks like a good idea to me: most people who voted voted for Tory councillors and this would put them in positions of responsibility. The committee system is a de facto coalition and it makes sense for the biggest party to step up to its responsibilities. Putting Norfolk first means keeping Labour out of office and if this means a ToryUKIP pact it's fine by me.

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    Jack1956

    Tuesday, May 20, 2014

  • Why should UKIP agree to this? They are moving forward in Norfolk and the Conservatives know this. Why be subsumed when they are doing well.

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    democrat

    Tuesday, May 20, 2014

  • Cheeks-Norfolk County Council is an expensive luxury Norwich does not need.

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    Peter Watson

    Tuesday, May 20, 2014

  • I heard that Cllr Mackie had boasted in his e-mail that if this deal is done, the Conservative Group special responsibility allowances will total as much as £117k a year for the next three years. Who said that none of these people are in it for the money? Isn't selflessness supposed to be one of the essential principles in public life?

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    Nemesis

    Tuesday, May 20, 2014

  • NCC cabinet scrutiny committee have backed calls for the Willows site to be sold to WNBC according to the Lynn News.

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    Canary Boy

    Tuesday, May 20, 2014

  • It would seem that Tom Fitzpatrick has already been usurped by 'Murphy men'. The muck is becoming toxic again!

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    maryjane

    Tuesday, May 20, 2014

  • Well, I suppose that we should congratulate Cllr Bill Borrett for being right (for once) when he stated recently that a move to a committee system of governance in County Hall would involve a return to meetings behind closed doors. That said, did he imagine that the first one would be a meeting of the Conservative Group debating how to highjack the full Council meeting on 27 May? Good to see Cllr James Joyce pencilled in for a special responsibility allowance of £13K. His current one came from the Labour Group. This one will come from the Conservative Group. Never mind. It keeps the Porsche on the road. The problem with dishing out these jobs secretly in advance is that it doesn't sit well with notions of democracy. If you have read the agenda for the meeting on 27 May, you probably imagine that the full Council will vote on these appointments after informed debate. Oh well, nothing really changes in County Hall.

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    John Martin

    Tuesday, May 20, 2014

  • Watson we didn't want Blair or Brown but we got them so be quiet for once

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    Sweet cheeks

    Tuesday, May 20, 2014

  • Tories back in control again. Mmmm someone said this would happen a year ago. I have had conversations with every Member of the Council today and also my Great Aunt Celia and Uncle Barnforth. They all say that the Tories will do a good job, many lucrative posts will go to the ‘right’ people and some unfinished business will be sorted out.

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    Magwitch

    Tuesday, May 20, 2014

  • Norwich is a Tory and Ukip free zone and yet is to be ruled by parties who hold diametrically opposed policies.Neither the Tories nor Ukip has the democratic validity to rule us in Norwich.It is time to set us free from rulers we did not elect.Norfolk County Council has to go.

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    Peter Watson

    Tuesday, May 20, 2014

  • I saw a councillor leaving the Kentucky shop in Norwich with a couple of buckets of fried chicken and a large box of chips under his arm. He was muttering something about the anti incinerator campaigners and a few things he should have told them. Suppose he had his reasons for keeping quiet.

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    Not A Pheasant Plucker

    Tuesday, May 20, 2014

  • From conversations with various UKIP members today I can say with certainty that Mackie has made a big mistake in boasting of contolling the council, laying out financial gain for conmen and informing his group of the - modest ask- by UKIP for becoming his puppets! By the way I thought Fitzpatrick was the leader why is Mackie ruling the roost. Lastly the UKIP people I have spoken to would never let Mackie into the fold, he is as toxic as Murphy although not quite as bad as Castle!

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    Canary Boy

    Tuesday, May 20, 2014

  • Surprised Brian kept quiet about the deal. Been on the table long enough.

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    Stanley T

    Tuesday, May 20, 2014

  • We are back to back room deals and the Lib Dems as well as UKIP are being subsumed by the party with no budget and with no ideas, the party that has signed a 682million taxpayers commitment without a planning permission. Spoil your ballot, don't vote for these showers.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Tuesday, May 20, 2014

  • UKIP are Tories in all but name. They just believe the Conservative Party are not right wing enough. They want you to think they are there for the workers, but it's quite the opposite. Watch your rights disapear.

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    sheringhamlocal

    Tuesday, May 20, 2014

  • Things appear to be going to plan. Dirty business politics.

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    Dickens

    Tuesday, May 20, 2014

  • So Mackie is at it again, why doesn't he just leave or join UKIP ? This is the trouble maker who supported Murphy and caused a lot of trouble. Why would any Tory group want to join forces with UKIP when the rest of the party are fighting them? This county group really have lost the plot.

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    Sweet cheeks

    Tuesday, May 20, 2014

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