Pressure on Norfolk County Council leader Derrick Murphy grew on two new fronts yesterday after the council ordered an investigation into his conduct and rebel Tory county councillors tabled a motion of no confidence in him.

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The council’s senior standards enforcer has set up an independent inquiry after seven members of the public complained about Mr Murphy’s role in the affair of the controversial email sent by taxpayer-funded Conservative political assistant Kevin Vaughan on April 18.

The county council has been locked in a bitter dispute with West Norfolk Council over the planned incinerator at King’s Lynn and a county council investigation concluded Mr Murphy was behind the email which appeared to undermine West Norfolk leader Nick Daubney.

The complainants allege Mr Murphy failed to treat Mr Vaughan and Mr Daubney with respect and brought his office or the county council into disrepute.

A county council spokesman said yesterday that “a suitably qualified person wholly independent of the authority” would investigate whether there was a breach of the members’ code of conduct.

The council’s monitoring officer Victoria McNeill and independent person Stephen Revell will then decide whether to hold a hearing of the standards committee.

In a separate development, two west Norfolk county councillors, John Dobson and Brian Long, have tabled a motion of no confidence in Mr Murphy’s leadership for the next meeting of the Conservative council group on Friday August 31.

Mr Dobson said: “I have no confidence in him as leader and that’s why I am bringing the motion. It’s in order to clear up major confusion, chaos and strife across Norfolk with regard to the way the county council leader has been conducting himself.”

But Mr Murphy said last night that he had done nothing wrong and his accusers were not “Mother Teresa and her sister” and had themselves previously been censored by the Conservative group.

He said: “They are trying to make me the story. The story is that the county council is following government advice and planning to build an energy from waste plant. People who don’t like it don’t seem to have any arguments any more and the alternative is a targeted campaign against me.”

The motion will be the first time Mr Murphy’s position has been formally debated by the Tory county council group and opens up a third front the Conservative rebels’ attempt to oust him.

The North West Norfolk Conservative Association has raised concerns about Mr Murphy’s conduct in a letter to party co-chairman Baroness Warsi, while the South West Norfolk association last week wrote to the South Norfolk association, where Mr Murphy will stand in next year’s council elections, asking them to consider allegations he had brought the party into disrepute.

A spokesman for the national party said yesterday that it had received letters from both sides of the argument and was investigating.

35 comments

  • Ask anybody in Norfolk who the Chancellor of the Exchequer most would not know. Ask about the leader of NCC and most will say Murphy. Not many have a nice word to say about him with his brash manner.

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    Choice

    Monday, August 20, 2012

  • This shows what happens when the Tories on the County Council act as a one party state.

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    Paul Cunningham

    Thursday, August 16, 2012

  • At the end of the day Derrick Murphy was using every trick in his devious book to trample on anybody that did not want an incinerator. I suspect many in county hall who preferred not to recycle our valuable resources in favour of burn and kill must have thought it was their birthday when Derrick Murphy came on the scene. County Hall should have warned him off a long time ago. In my mind they are as guilty as him. They have allowed him to create ill feeling between the Borough, MPs and County Councillors. He has Nothing to do with me syndrome after loading the bullets!

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    Rick Brick

    Friday, August 17, 2012

  • I still believe NCC allowed Derrick Murphy to be so vocal as to cause a smoke screen. Yes the incinerator, pardon the pun. They have been taking notice of other County Councils that have had similar experience and also Costessey proposed incinerator. This action plan of treating the public like sheep will cost the Tory party at the next County elections. Why come into politics to force a technology on to public knowing it is controversial and will cost votes. The stress caused to the public will cost the Tories for many generations. If the chimney at the gateway to Norfolk gets build will be a monument to death of democracy and the Tory party.

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    Alan Allan

    Tuesday, August 21, 2012

  • Poor Derrick he is so hard done by, bless.

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    Steve33

    Thursday, August 16, 2012

  • Poor Derrick! You have bought it upon yourself with your seedy little operation. Do the right thing and resign your days are numbered. You could also take you little mates with you and save the public a fortune.

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    Sweet cheeks

    Friday, August 17, 2012

  • Mr Murphy said: “They are trying to make me the story. The story is that the county council is following government advice and planning to build an energy from waste plant. People who don’t like it don’t seem to have any arguments any more and the alternative is a targeted campaign against me.” If you cannot stand the heat get out of the Incinerator.Why has he jumped ship from Watlington by putting his home there, up for sale? Why don't he stay there instead of deserting the the electorate who voted for him? He said "I love West Norfolk and the rest of Norfolk" Then why has he lumbered the people of West Norfolk with a Incinerator for 25 years. England Heritage, NHS,Environment Agency,RSPB, all have indicated that the incinerator is safe and the risk to human health is insignificant.So Mr Murphy don't need to move away from his beloved West Norfolk after all People who don’t like it don’t seem to have any arguments I don't like it and I have plenty of arguments.Heres one for starters why should we have other districts of Norfolks rubbish, and Cambridgeshire, Lincolnshire also an apportionment of rubbish from London.There you go thats an argument.Noise pollution air, water, groundwater, light,and chemical pollution.Health issues,and the number of arguments we can launch is infinite

    Report this comment

    LFB

    Saturday, August 18, 2012

  • Councillor Murphy is wrong if he thinks the problem is only about him. There are too many aspects of poor governance at County Hall to mention now, but they certainly cannot lay all the blame at Westminster.

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    bedoomed

    Friday, August 17, 2012

  • In this article Murphy says that he is carrying out the Govt's policy to build the incinerator. Kevin also carried out his master's bidding and got sacked. I hope Murphy isn't looking to receive a pay-off when he goes. Also his reference to a religious order is cheap and vulgar!!

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    maryjane

    Friday, August 17, 2012

  • Unfortunately I expect he will survive the confidence motion, not because deep down he is actually a good person but because so many of his colleagues are just as bad as he is. If he survives it will send out the message - you can operate in a moral vacum treat voters with distain and carry on regardless because you are among like minded people who prize power above public service. He should go but equally importantly so should those who still support him.

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    Voter 65,516

    Saturday, August 18, 2012

  • Such a bull-headed and arrogant man - not fit to lead a county council. John Martin's and Joy's comments are spot on. The longer Murphy delays his departure [which can only now be a matter of when] the worse it makes things for his party.

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    JCW

    Friday, August 17, 2012

  • First of all we have the Wymondham Conservatives trying to interfere with the Catholic Church in Wymondham. Then we have their overlord Murphy making derogatory comments about the Blessed Mother Teresa. Which religious denomination are you going to pick on next?

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    alecto

    Friday, August 17, 2012

  • Derrick Murphy had done this devious trick of discrediting the leader of the Borough because of his views on the incinerator was not in line with NCC. The object was to kill two birds with one stone. Derrick Murphy would be singing from the rafters that the public had voted in favour of the incinerator by voting for his man and rub salt in wound if Nick Daubney had lost the election. The most damming part is this was instigated while the planning consultation was in progress. He has interfered with the planning process. Previously allegations of harassment to a few County Councillors were unfounded as none had informed the police. He had put these councillors in the firing line to do his dirty work, knowing they had to live with the consequences while his intention was to jump ship and leave them in the lurch.

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    Choice

    Thursday, August 16, 2012

  • there are many more comments than just the ten you are reading, they have been selectively binned.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Sunday, August 19, 2012

  • Are the EDP blocking comments so it doesn't look like many people are up in arms over this? Or do they not want anyone to point out the outcome of this investigation is a foregone conclusion?

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    Honest John

    Saturday, August 18, 2012

  • If ever there was a reason why local councils should be non political here is one. The councillors should be there to represent man, woman and children in the area they stand. Difficult perhaps but acheivable

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    jennifer jane

    Thursday, August 16, 2012

  • As Derrick Murphy commented Government policy to build incinerators, surely Nick Daubney was using Government policy to listen to the electorate. The Tory party manifesto talks about localism. Derrick Murphy used the media at every opportunity to voice his opinion and force the incinerator through and at the same time trash any opposition. The public were disadvantaged as NCC had not allowed a level playing field. I have not seen any evidence the public in the UK want an incinerator. What gave him the right to use the good name of Mother Teresa, again he is playing to the media.

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    Alan Allan

    Thursday, August 16, 2012

  • Mr Murphy said: “They are trying to make me the story. The story is that the county council is following government advice and planning to build an energy from waste plant. People who don’t like it don’t seem to have any arguments any more and the alternative is a targeted campaign against me.” If you cannot stand the heat get out of the Incinerator.Why has he jumped ship from Watlington by putting his home there, up for sale? Why don't he stay there instead of deserting the the electorate who voted for him? He said "I love West Norfolk and the rest of Norfolk" Then why has he lumbered the people of West Norfolk with a Incinerator for 25 years. England Heritage, NHS,Environment Agency,RSPB, all have indicated that the Incinerator is safe and the risk to human health is insignificant.So Mr Murphy don't need to move away from his beloved West Norfolk after all

    Report this comment

    LFB

    Friday, August 17, 2012

  • Catch 22. If he gets found guilty he should stand down and lose benefits that go with the job. This will also be proof of his interference has influenced the outcome of the incinerator. If he stays we draw closer to the County elections and opposition parties will have a field day proof of arrogance.

    Report this comment

    batemansusan

    Tuesday, August 21, 2012

  • I was horrified to see it reported that Stephen Revell has been appointed as Independent Person for the purposes of the new standards regime. We know that at least twenty-six truly independent members of the public answered NCC’s advertisement for the role. My particular concern is this. There was a conduct complaint just over a year ago against Cllr Derrick Murphy, contending that he had brought his office and NCC into disrepute. As usual, the Standards Committee declined to uphold the complaint but it did order Mr Revell to meet with the Cabinet and seek an acknowledgement from it about the importance of open and transparent decision-making. (This is what is known technically as “a sop”.) He failed to do this for almost three months, and when he did the note of the meeting that he grudgingly produced revealed that he had obtained no such acknowledgment.

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    Nemesis

    Monday, August 20, 2012

  • I believe Councillors Dobson and Long were indeed censored by the Conservative Group when they went against the party whip and stood with their electorate! That was following the scrutiny meeting 19th April 11 when they put forward a motion to call-in the decision on the incinerator to go before full council. Both Councillors were also removed from committee positions very quickly due to their actions. If only a few others would have the courage to stand up and do what was right the travesty at County Hall would end.

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    Joy, King's Lynn

    Thursday, August 16, 2012

  • Stephen Revell? Miss McNeill is calling him ‘independent’? What definition is that using? In his two and a half years as Chairman of the Standards Committee, standards have plummeted faster than a rock down a well, hardly an enviable track record. We can instantly see the outcome of this little farce, more cost to the taxpayer, and even lower standards of behaviour being acceptable. Welcome to life at County Hall – no change.

    Report this comment

    Honest John

    Friday, August 17, 2012

  • The external investigation was an “employment process”, according to NCC Chief Executive David White. The spotlight was on Kevin Vaughan. But of course, it should also have been on Cllr Derrick Murphy, the man who gave Kevin the instruction to tip off BBC Radio Norfolk about the leadership challenge that Cllr Nick Daubney was about to face at the Borough Council. All suggestions that a further investigation should be held into Cllr Murphy’s role were played down to fine leg. Well, seven of us tried to find a way to bring this about by another means. We lodged individual conduct complaints against Cllr Murphy with NCC. We alleged that he had breached the version of the NCC members Code of Conduct then in force by bringing his office and NCC into disrepute. Now NCC has no choice but to arrange an independent investigation into his conduct. This is not as he foolishly tries to make us believe all to do with the incinerator. It is all about his own unconscionable behaviour as leader. Thank goodness that simultaneously some of his own political colleagues have seen that he needs to go. Will the other have the confidence to stand up to him and agree?

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    John Martin

    Thursday, August 16, 2012

  • It takes some believing that the Leader of Norfolk County Council would even act in this way against a party member. His agenda is not what is right for Norfolk but what he gets out of it. Pay back tax--payers money.

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    Jack

    Saturday, August 18, 2012

  • Derrick you have got it the wrong way round. It is you and your cabinet who have a targeted camapaign against West Norfolk and members of your own party if they do not do what you want them to do. How you have got away with this for so long is a disgrace. I will certainly not be voting for you. It is good to see your own party members stand up against you at long last. You should pay back tax-payers money that was spent on the investigation, that revealed it was you that instigated the email to Nick Conrad Radio Norfolk to undermine Leader Nick Daubney of West Norfolk.

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    Jack

    Friday, August 17, 2012

  • The external investigation was an “employment process”, according to NCC Chief Executive David White. The spotlight was on Kevin Vaughan. But of course, it should also have been on Cllr Derrick Murphy, the man who gave Kevin the instruction to tip off BBC Radio Norfolk about the leadership challenge that Cllr Nick Daubney was about to face at the Borough Council. All suggestions that a further investigation should be held into Cllr Murphy’s role were played down to fine leg. Well, seven of us tried to find a way to bring this about by another means. We lodged individual conduct complaints against Cllr Murphy with NCC. We alleged that he had breached the version of the NCC members Code of Conduct then in force by bringing his office and NCC into disrepute. Now NCC has no choice but to arrange an independent investigation into his conduct. This is not, as he foolishly tries to make us believe, all to do with the incinerator. It is all about his own unconscionable behaviour as leader. Thank goodness also that some of his political colleagues have at last decided to take him on.

    Report this comment

    John Martin

    Friday, August 17, 2012

  • Exchanging Cllr. Murphy, without looking at his cabinet colleagues will not bring change at the ballot box. The next election will be fought on issues that were pushed through without much listening to our mandates. There will be Independent candidates and hopefully you would have chosen them yourself. The election in November for PCC will also have a genuine Independent, somebody untainted by the past. Get prepared locally and chose your own candidates.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Saturday, August 18, 2012

  • Ingo, there has been an (otherwise) inexplicable and deafening silence over the past few days. Do I detect the hand of Mrs Hannam at work again? Would the EDP like to set up on its home page a status report feature so that we know when not to waste our time at a glance?

    Report this comment

    John Martin

    Monday, August 20, 2012

  • Murphy says now that he was only doing the Govt's bidding - that is carrying out their wishes to build an incinerator. Recently we were told Kevin Vaughan also did his master's bidding and sent the e-mail to Nick Conrad - look what happened to him Derrick - he was sacked. I hope when you go people have the good sense not to pay you off because any aggrevation you have received is of your own making - oh and by the way - don't bring the religious orders into this - that really is cheap and extremely vulgar.

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    maryjane

    Friday, August 17, 2012

  • Councillor Murphy is wrong if he thinks the problem is only about him. There are too many aspects of poor governance at County Hall to mention now, but they certainly cannot lay all the blame at Westminster.

    Report this comment

    bedoomed

    Friday, August 17, 2012

  • Exchanging Cllr. Murphy, without looking at his cabinet colleagues will not bring change at the ballot box. The next election will be fought on issues that were pushed through without much listening to our mandates. There will be Independent candidates and hopefully you would have chosen them yourself. The election in November for PCC will also have a genuine Independent, somebody untainted by the past. Get prepared locally and chose your own candidates.

    Report this comment

    ingo wagenknecht

    Saturday, August 18, 2012

  • Well, I don't know about others but I lost confidence in this man some time ago. And now he has moved, he is now my prospective County Councillor. One vote he won't be getting. I never thought I would hear myself saying it but "come back Jon Herbert"!!!!

    Report this comment

    Jaguar

    Thursday, August 16, 2012

  • All our neighbours in our quiet Norfolk village have vowed to not vote Conservative again in local or national elections unless Murphy is removed from office. I think Henry Bellingham would be wise to rethink his friendships or he might find himself once again in the political wilderness!

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    Norfolk and Good

    Thursday, August 16, 2012

  • How can this dreadful man try to tell us that this is all about the incinerator? Is he deluded? Even a five year old could tell him that it is all about his unforgiveable conduct as leader.

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    Nemesis

    Thursday, August 16, 2012

  • How quaint Norfolk' n Good. would you not agree that it is party politics in general that has abused voters mandates and trust. Some might want to dress themselves up as independents ,but, unless they do this now, when discontent is at its height, their last minute flip flopping will be met with disdain and rejection. Create your own local candidates, those who are genuine to all, not just certain party supporters. Unless we put trust in Independents that have come from the locale, leaving party celebrities and careerist's to themselves, we will be ruled, not governed. Cllr. Murphy will leave before the next NCC election, that I'm sure off, but that will not change the facts as they are on the ground, nor does it change the rot that has set in years back.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Friday, August 17, 2012

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

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