The man in line to become the next Norfolk County Council leader says he wants to make the authority “more open” during his 10-week tenure.

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Bill Borrett triumphed over Graham Plant in a secret ballot to decide the new Conservative group county council chairman, and he is set to be formally approved as leader on Monday.

But the Elmham and Mattishall Tory could hold the role for the shortest amount of time in the authority’s history as all 84 county council seats will be up for grabs at elections on May 2.

A leader would then have to be decided once the new council has been selected.

Mr Borrett has held the role of acting county council leader following Derrick Murphy’s decision to temporarily step down last month, and later resign, following a standards hearing into his conduct.

There were calls from the opposition Labour group for a caretaker leader to take charge until May.

But the 84 county councillors will be asked to agree a new leader at an extraordinary meeting on Monday. Mr Borrett will be recommended to become county council leader until the elections.

As the Tories have 59 members and a majority of 35, it is unlikely the farmer at Hoe will be prevented from taking the role.

Mr Borrett said he was “chuffed” to be chosen and his aims included managing the authority’s finances and keeping the same cabinet team together for the final weeks of the Tory administration.

But he said also he wants to work on the council’s “softer skills”. He said this includes being “more open, listening more and involving more people”.

Mr Borrett said: “It’s a more natural style for me and easier to do and I think it’s what’s required. Hopefully it’s a win-win.”

Despite county council elections just weeks away, Mr Borrett insisted it was right to hold yesterday’s leadership contest.

He said: “I think given we had another candidate that wanted to put their name forward, it was the only fair thing we could do and it does give us clear stability to the end of this administration.

“There’s a lot of important jobs to do in the council and for everybody to know what’s happening with the leadership, it’s stable for the next 10 weeks.

“I may go on record as being the shortest leader of the county council. We are talking about 10 weeks and the new council may want to choose a new leader once elected. Who knows what that will bring.”

Defeated candidate Mr Plant said he put himself forward to ensure the leader was selected by the whole of the Tory group.

He said: “Bill is a good bloke. We have no angst. We are where we are. We had no angst during the course of the pre-election or during the vote, nothing at all.

“We draw a line in the sand, we move forward and we present ourselves as a Conservative Party for Norfolk running up to the elections.”

It had been thought Brian Long, also deputy leader of West Norfolk Council, would also stand, but he did not formally submit his nomination.

He told the EDP: “It was obvious to me as I was making contact with other members I wasn’t going to achieve enough support to make a dent one way or the other. I withdrew but live to fight another day.”

George Nobbs, Labour group leader at County Hall, said he would have preferred a “respected” caretaker leader until May.

He said: “I think that given we are less than two months away from a county council election, which many of the people who voted for Mr Borrett will not be councillors after and the two main candidates today may not retain their seats, it would have been altogether more seemly for the Conservatives to have left the decision to those who the electorate return in May.”

Today’s election took place after former leader Derrick Murphy resigned. He did so last month, to focus on a standards hearing he was facing.

At that hearing he was cleared, by a committee of fellow councillors, of six of seven claims he had breached the council’s code of conduct, but on one count he was found to have committed a breach.

That one count related to him bringing his office into disrepute because he had asked Kevin Vaughan, a political assistant to Mr Murphy’s Conservative group to claim it was so-called twin hatter councillors –county councillors who also serve on West Norfolk Council – not Mr Murphy, who asked him to send an email to the BBC.

The committee imposed three sanctions: A letter of censure will be sent by the committee to Mr Murphy; a report of the breach will be made to a meeting of the full council and Mr Murphy will be required to undergo training in ethics and standards.

Mr Murphy then announced he would not be seeking a return as chairman and then revealed he and his wife Janet, also a county councillor, would not be standing in May’s county council elections.

22 comments

  • We don't want you Bill, Norfolk does not want you. We will remember all the councillors that have sat back and allowed DEMOCRACY to die in Norfolk. Roll on the elections. Borrett only cares about number one, himself. You will not be in the chair for long you have caused a war with West Norfolk and you will have to suffer the consequences of your bullying tactics to shove a dirty stinking waste incinerator on families in King's Lynn. How would you like a waste incinerator near you. I would not wish that on my worst enemy. You are not fit to be leader, you can't even understand what the best options are for dealing with waste. Incineration is as bad as landfill, mountains of toxic ash will have to be buried in a hole in the ground. £600 million of our money would be wasted. A waste incinerator spewing poisons onto the delicate environment in The Wash for 25 years would be a ecological disaster. Why do you want a crown for that? You will never be West Norfolk's Leader.

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    Jack

    Friday, February 22, 2013

  • Anything was better than Brian Long.

    Report this comment

    Del Boy

    Friday, February 22, 2013

  • Let us set a little test for Cllr Bill "more open" Borrett. Around thirty public questions have already been submitted in advance to the Cabinet meeting on 4th March. I challenge him to ensure that each question receives a full, detailed, accurate and non-evasive answer. If he does, then it will be a compete surprise to all members of the public who have in the past exercised their constitutional right to submit questions, and have them properly answered.

    Report this comment

    Nemesis

    Saturday, February 23, 2013

  • Andy T we will get our chance at the elections no conservative seat is safe now. Thanks to Borrett and his puppets.

    Report this comment

    Jack

    Friday, February 22, 2013

  • Oh come on folks cut Borrett some slack about his awful grammar, he didn't have the benefit of NCC's PR team writing that sentence for him. So this is another ‘done deal’ by the Cabinet, we say you do? Now we have the pleasure of seeing how many eunuchs there are on Monday, especially those who don't turn up - so quite a few from West Norfolk then, hey L.angwade?

    Report this comment

    Honest John

    Friday, February 22, 2013

  • Is Cllr Borrett really referring to his stature in this victory enigmatic statement? I have never met him, so I cannot judge.

    Report this comment

    gilded beams

    Friday, February 22, 2013

  • “I may go on record as being the shortest leader of the county council" How tall is he?

    Report this comment

    Disgusted of Norwich South

    Friday, February 22, 2013

  • Will Farmer Bill be able to change the brand of Norfolk's Tories before May's elections?Can he detoxify the toxic Tories?EDP reports on inadequacies in childrens' services suggest not.

    Report this comment

    Peter Watson

    Saturday, February 23, 2013

  • Or the most grammatically incorrect? WN could have taken that record easily but didn't go for it, shame! Is this a case of the organ grinder is dead, long live his monkey?

    Report this comment

    Mr Cameron Isaliar

    Friday, February 22, 2013

  • I bring you good tidings Borratt. You are not the shortest Leader of the County Council. I have checked with a former leader who says she is 5foot 4inches. So you can stop being so upset although I cant understand why you have focused on your height to be so worried about when your cabinet colleagues are about to implode into a big mucky blancmange. I was much heartened to hear that Brian Long could not attract one single vote from the rotten nest of vipers that constitutes the Tory group on the County Council.the County. His personal reputation has just gone stratospheric which is great when you consider the rest of the Tories are hiding under stones.

    Report this comment

    Electra

    Saturday, February 23, 2013

  • Jack "A waste incinerator spewing poisons onto the delicate environment in The Wash for 25 years would be a ecological disaster." No pun but rubbish! Have you heard of Palm Paper? Either way your local council signed up to an incinerator with or without the County Council...

    Report this comment

    Andy T

    Friday, February 22, 2013

  • "Open"? Open evening at the Lodge. Church of the Latter Day Tories.

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Sunday, February 24, 2013

  • Why, EDP, have you blocked the ridiculous, juvenile and wholly inappropriate image I uploaded yesterday?

    Report this comment

    Mr Cameron Isaliar

    Saturday, February 23, 2013

  • Brian Long ??? Ha ha ha ha. That joker had to move aside when he discovered not a single person would support him. Talk about unpopular. He even signed his own nomination paper and was only going to get one vote - his own. Step down Brian and save yourself the further embarrassment of losing an election.

    Report this comment

    Dickens

    Friday, February 22, 2013

  • Oh Mr.Borrett, there are thousands of us who sincerely hope you are right. As for being "more open, listening more and involving more people", the only way to convince the population of West Norfolk will be to pull the plug on the incinerator project that you are forcing down our throats. Your idea of localism ends at your farm gate. We deserve better than you!

    Report this comment

    mrsmurphy

    Friday, February 22, 2013

  • all tory councillors are dwarves

    Report this comment

    stuart goodman

    Friday, February 22, 2013

  • Jack "A waste incinerator spewing poisons onto the delicate environment in The Wash for 25 years would be a ecological disaster." No pun but rubbish! Have you heard of Palm Paper? Either way your local council signed up to an incinerator with or without the County Council...

    Report this comment

    Andy T

    Friday, February 22, 2013

  • Oh dear, open mouth before engaging brain. But if he is saying what I think he means in his own sad garbled way, we can but hope Borratt, we can but hope.

    Report this comment

    alecto

    Friday, February 22, 2013

  • Tomorrow Bill Borett will more than likely be the CC more' open' leader - I hope that he has spent this wend deciding how he is going to do this.Perhaps I can help with a few questions that should be answered immediately. How much was Kevin Vaughan paid off ? What were the voting figures of the Standards Committee ? What were the voting figures at the leadership election? Why was Murphy not sacked when it was shown that he lied? Why is Alison Thomas still on the Cabinet? Why is it impossible to get information about his involvement in th Kevingate affair? That's for a start.

    Report this comment

    maryjane

    Sunday, February 24, 2013

  • LISTENING MORE??? What, like that "hear no evil" monkey?

    Report this comment

    Citizen of EUSSR

    Friday, February 22, 2013

  • This is an extremely accurate headline! Why a secret ballot? Secrecy is the bane of Norfolk County Council and obviously as the Conservatives control all its hardly surprising. The people who fund Councillors should be privy to know how many votes Borrett and Plant got. Did Borrett only get through by a whisker or was it a resounding defeat for Plant? Are be going to see unity or backstabbing? One thing is for certain we will not see openess, transparency or a jot of consideration for the taxpayer from Borrett.

    Report this comment

    Canary Boy

    Friday, February 22, 2013

  • Fancy showing a video of Borrett sitting all alone in an empty room, or was that supposed to represent all the Billy No Mates supporters? So by having a secret ballott, for all we know everyone else could have abstained and Borrett got in by one vote, namely his own.

    Report this comment

    Honest John

    Saturday, February 23, 2013

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