Labour’s George Nobbs elected Norfolk County Council leader

George Nobbs. George Nobbs.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014
1:04 PM

Norfolk County Council will continue to have a Labour leader, after a meeting which will lead to a shake-up how the authority makes decisions.

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The new committee system sees the creation of five new committees, which will be constituted on politically proportionate lines.

The council voted, by 43 votes to 40, for these people to chair the committees:

Adult social care – chair Sue Whitaker (Labour); vice chair Elizabeth Morgan (Green)

Children’s services – chair James Joyce (Liberal Democrat); vice chair Richard Bearman (Green)

Communities – chair Paul Smyth (UKIP); vice chair Margaret Wilkinson (Labour)

Environment, development and transport – chair Toby Coke (UKIP); vice chair John Timewell (Liberal Democrat)

Policy and resources - chair George Nobbs (Labour); vice chair David Harrison (Lib Dem)

George Nobbs was elected leader on a day when the council ended its cabinet structure and switched to a committee system.

The Conservatives put forward their leader Tom FitzPatrick as leader.

But Mr Nobbs triumphed by 43 votes to 40.

Mr Nobbs, county councillor for Norwich’s Crome ward, originally became leader after the elections in May last year.

He was elected leader then after Labour, and the Liberal Democrats formed an administration, with support from the UK Independence Party.

UKIP had approached the Conservatives over a possible deal, which would have handed control of the council back to the Tories.

But, on Friday, after a meeting of the Conservative group, Mr FitzPatrick said there would be no alliance with UKIP, and all parties, bar the Tories, backed Mr Nobbs as leader.

Liberal Democrat David Harrison was voted in as depury leader, while the council also picked the chairmen and vice chairmen of a string of new committees.

They have been set up after the council agreed to move away from a cabinet system to committees, which the councillors who wanted the switch saying that will give all councillors more say in decision making.

The new committees include adult social care; children’s services; environment, development and transport; communities and policy and resources. There will also be an economic development sub-committee.

The five committees will have checks and balances in place so that decisions which commit the authority to spending more than £100m will have to be taken by a full meeting of the council.

If the relevant committee or the council leader and the managing director feel the matter is of great significance, the issue will also be brought before a meeting of all councillors.

Under the new system, a leader will be elected each year, rather than every four years.

The meeting also saw Liberal Democrat Brian Hannah unanimously voted in as council chairman, succeeding Conservative Hilary Cox.

UKIP’s Rex Parkinson-Hare was named as Mr Hannah’s deputy, after seeing off the challenge of Alison Thomas by 42 votes to 40, with two abstentions.

18 comments

  • UKIPCon pact? Was it scuppered by outside interference? The disgraced Colin Noble (recently thrown out by Suffolk County Council Leader) was seen on the day of the Tory meeting; thinks? Incinerator - suffolk-Noble ( a known Murphy supporter) influencing a tory group meeting? Never!!

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    maryjane

    Thursday, May 29, 2014

  • Alecto, are you suggesting there is a decent alternative to SmuGNobbs in the current Labour Party? We could be seeing the beginning of a split in the Conservatives, the core of old die hard incinerator pushers and Murphite Cabinet stood out alone abstaining from the Dobson Boswell motion, so this new chap could haul the the Conservatives out of the mire, inject some accountability, moral decency, and work a little closer with the minority parties. Of course that could only happen if the new Conservative Leader does not succumb to the NCC carrot that closet Murphite SmuGNobbs had his eyes on all along, but it could happen ....

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    Honest John

    Wednesday, May 28, 2014

  • Some one has to be a leader ! so why not George Nobbs ? he has welfare of us all at heart! George Nobbs.a man of mystery !

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    Albert Cooper

    Wednesday, May 28, 2014

  • Indeed the lesser of two evils but by such a small margin you need an electron microscope to see it. I don't want to see the wrecking ball of a party, the Tories, to do anything but do we have to have Gnobbs lording it about County Hall pretending he is in any way suitable for the job. The only thing we will remember about Gnobbs is they way he dropped the promises in his own manifesto as soon as he became leader. So no one will trust him ever again and rightly so. Cant Labour find someone else?

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    alecto

    Wednesday, May 28, 2014

  • He's looking smug because he is still getting his special allowance payment of 26k, Honest John, for having less responsibility after splitting the cabinet portfolio into five committees. This issue of carving us up as much as possible is a party politcal trait they all carry like a faulty gene.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Wednesday, May 28, 2014

  • GNobbs had no right to look as smug as he did, as previously said, he was the lesser of two evils by a very narrow margin. He looked very at home sat among the Conservatives to use a microphone, he has happily continued with their unpopular policies of the incinerator, Coltishall and NDR, Murphy must be so proud of his prize pup.pet.

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    Honest John

    Wednesday, May 28, 2014

  • Wheeeling and dealing, Ukip obviously got the best offer from Labour. Labour and Ukip in bed together, pass the sick bag. Roll on the general election.

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    Gina

    Tuesday, May 27, 2014

  • Having a labour leader will be a disaster, let us not forget that when Labour left government 4 years ago a departing treasury minister left a note for his Tory successor saying that they were sorry but all the money had been spent and there was none left

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    blister

    Tuesday, May 27, 2014

  • We have to accept that, by a small margin, this is the lesser of two evils. A number of the leading lights in the so-called Rainbow Alliance have hardly distinguished themselves to date, but we do not want the Conservatives having any positions of influence, given what they have saddled us all with. Public scrutiny remains essential.

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    John Martin

    Tuesday, May 27, 2014

  • Anybody who is in a minority coalition, hanging on by their threads could be called the fifth party, but you are right, they managed to just pip UKIP in South Norfolk, but for how long?

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Tuesday, May 27, 2014

  • Congratulations are due to George Nobbs for the longest lasting rainbow ever when he could have found himself doing an easier job herding cats.The Tories still have not yet got the message.They left us with a tab for £30 million to pay and yet they show no remorse or contrition or the spine to make an apology.Until they do they will remain Norfolk's toxic Tories.

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    Peter Watson

    Tuesday, May 27, 2014

  • Ingo, I'm afraid I have to correct your factual errors again. Alison Thomas is a Conservative for a South Norfolk Division. In the Euro poll last Thursday, Conservatives were ahead of UKIP in South Norfolk, and came second to them across the County and the Region. Conservatives are neither the fifth party nor the third as you state. Check your facts please before you press the submit button..

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    Old Hand

    Tuesday, May 27, 2014

  • seconded, canary boy. We shall see how they perform year two. Glad that Ms. Thomas has failed to become deputy, after the latest rout, her past involvement was lacking imho. and the Lib Dems have only a single MEP left, she now represents the fifth party not the third.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Tuesday, May 27, 2014

  • Cllr Alison Thomas has the nerve of the very Devil himself. Had I been one of the members of the Murphy Cabinet, whose decision-making skills resulted in the people of Norfolk losing £34m of their money, the last thing that I would have done would be to challenge the thoroughly decent Cllr Rex Parkinson-Hare for the role of NCC Vice-Chairman.

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    Nemesis

    Tuesday, May 27, 2014

  • Labour? Labour? They don't exist any more do they? Surely they are just another Tory party.

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    John L Norton

    Tuesday, May 27, 2014

  • As long as the conservatives are kept out of leading roles I can just about stomach this news. Shame Coke weakened his leadership position trying to do a deal with the conservatives.

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    Canary Boy

    Tuesday, May 27, 2014

  • The poisoned chalice for Mr Nobbs. Year 2 cannot be worse than year 1 of his leadership,or can it? I'll be looking for more openness and less blaming past Tory decisions,and more new initiatives to get Norfolk working for all in the County.What will the initiatives be,that is the burning question still !

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    bedoomed

    Tuesday, May 27, 2014

  • Good Choice "A Man of the People "

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    Albert Cooper

    Tuesday, May 27, 2014

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