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Mulbarton councillor resigns from Conservative party to stand against Norfolk County Council leader

PUBLISHED: 13:32 18 December 2012 | UPDATED: 11:31 21 December 2012

cllr Jon Herbert

cllr Jon Herbert

Archant

A district and county councillor for the Mulbarton area has announced his resignation from the Conservative party, so that he can stand as an independent against the leader of Norfolk County Council next year.

Jon Herbert said he was cancelling his Conservative membership to fight against Derrick Murphy for the Forehoe division at next May’s county council elections.

The accountant, who was elected as a South Norfolk Councillor in 2007 and on to Norfolk County Council for the Forehoe ward in 2009 was deselected as a member of the South Norfolk Conservative Association earlier this year.

Mr Murphy, who currently represents Freebridge in west Norfolk was picked to be Conservative candidate to stand for the Forehoe division in south Norfolk.

Mr Herbert today said he had given up any hope of an appeal into his deselection being successful and had resigned his membership of Mid Norfolk Conservative Association

The councillor said he had become “increasingly disillusioned” with the way that Conservatives in Norfolk had represented their residents in local government and believed his deselection was “politically motivated”.

He added that the catalyst for his decision had come after South Norfolk Councillors approved plans for 180 new homes in Mulbarton, despite opposition from local residents and the parish council.

“I have been privileged to represent the residents of this special part of South Norfolk and stunned that the local politicians do not seem to want me because I am too independent and as a local person insist on representing local views in local politics above all else. It is the overwhelming response from local people to the news that an outsider who has not represented his residents, is to be brought in by the Tories that has led me to this decision to carry on as an independent.”

Mr Herbert will continue as an independent councillor for Forehoe until the May 2013 elections as well as an independent councillor for Mulbarton ward at South Norfolk Council. He is also a parish councillor for Mulbarton.

Norfolk County Council says it is still waiting to receive a QC’s report investigating Mr Murphy. An independent inquiry into the leader’s conduct was set up by the council’s senior standards enforcer. This was to examine Mr Murphy’s role in an email sent by a taxpayer-funded Conservative political assistant, which suggested questions to BBC Radio Norfolk.

The email sent by Kevin Vaughan stated that West Norfolk Council leader Nick Daubney was facing a leadership challenge and was struggling to come up with an alternative technology to the proposed waste plant at Saddlebow.

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