Two main candidates emerged last night as the most likely to compete to become the new leader of Norfolk County Council, with a third also refusing to rule herself out of the race.

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Following Friday’s day of political drama at County Hall, which ended with the resignation of Derrick Murphy as chairman and leader of the Conservative group, the council’s current interim leader Bill Borrett and its cabinet member for transport Graham Plant, have thrown their names into the hat to take over permanently.

Meanwhile, cabinet member for economic development, Ann Steward, also refused to rule herself out.

Mr Murphy quit as leader and chairman of the Conservatives on the council on Friday after a standards hearing found he had breached the councillor code of conduct by asking a political assistant to lie on his behalf.

He had already stood down from his role as council leader several weeks earlier.

A leadership battle is now likely and last night Mr Plant became the first candidate to put his name forward, claiming he would be a “steady hand at the tiller” as the council grapples with budget cuts of around £125m over three years.

Mr Plant is being backed by two senior Conservatives - cabinet member for children’s services Alison Thomas and former deputy leader Ian Mackie, who stepped down last September as cabinet member for finance.

But current acting leader of the council and the group Bill Borrett is also expected to seek the post full-time.

Cabinet member for economic development Ann Steward also refused to rule herself out of any leadership challenge.

She said she was “very flattered” by suggestions she could replace Mr Murphy but said it was too early to say either way if she would stand.

Mr Murphy declined to back any candidate as his replacement and told the EDP he would now focus on taking up a host of issues raised by Friday’s standards hearing into his behaviour.

For more on this story, see today’s papers.

41 comments

  • I suppose you could say David White 'leaked' the secret recordings to the Council, much in the same way that Cllr Daubney leaked his FOI request to the council and then leaked the email from that FOI request to the council. A lot of leaking, and if it was a ship it would probably sink.

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    Rhombus

    Monday, February 4, 2013

  • acenditcantu-Mr White was not on trial!!! Have you ever received a phone call you wish you could have recorded because of the nature of its contents, that is probably why it was done. I do not condone this but needs must in a situation which is likely to be challenged, and I think that is the gist of this. Its really a sad state of affairs.

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    maryjane

    Monday, February 4, 2013

  • I wonder who steward will flash her eye lashes to so that she can get her way? How much has she done for her ward since she was elected,I wonder who steward will flash her eye lashes to so that she can get her way? How much has she done for her ward since she was elected? Borrett like steward will still take advice from murphy and do as they are told and I cant comment on plant, I do thing they need someone new and a new cabinet so they can remove all the dead wood, and by golly there is an aweful lot of it.

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    Sweet cheeks

    Tuesday, February 5, 2013

  • I say, that's a touch risqué. The term "in the frame" is what the boys in blue use when discussing suspected villains. What are you trying to imply about the Conservative group at NCC? So the gen pop can make an informed guess, run a sweepstake, or the like, could you publish a helpful league table of the number of times each member's name appears in the DM (mis)conduct report?

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    Mr Cameron Isaliar

    Monday, February 4, 2013

  • Cllr. Borrett's was intrinsically involved in the affair surrounding Derrick Murphy's fall from grace and mr. Plant, a self declared Freemason has clearly got split loyalties. Ms Ann Steward is implicated in the Gt. Yarmouth outer harbour inquiry, so where is the credible candidate and who will improve the safety of legal documents at County Hall offices, not to speak of its open door access all hours?

    Report this comment

    ingo wagenknecht

    Monday, February 4, 2013

  • This is the full text of the statement that I handed to the EDP on behalf of all seven complainants: The complainants are naturally very concerned and surprised by the failure of the Standards Committee to treat these complaints with the seriousness that they warranted. I fear that this will send out a message to the public of Norfolk that the standards and ethics regime in County Hall is far from robust. What is particularly disappointing is that their decision followed on from a four months long investigation by a leading barrister. Miss Jenni Richards QC deserves considerable praise for her diligence and professionalism in preparing her report, and the complainants most certainly want to thank her for the total courtesy that she has shown to them throughout. We now need to take advice as to the most appropriate means to challenge this decision. Quite separately, I have already lodged a corporate complaint against NCC based on the failure of its Chief Executive to launch an external investigation himself into Cllr Murphy’s conduct last May. In that respect, I must add that it is shameful that seven individual members of the public have had to spend six months prosecuting these complaints, and putting up from time to time with unwarranted criticism from Cllr Murphy’s supporters. This rightfully was the task of NCC. Finally, I want to emphasise that these complaints are nothing to do with the proposed Saddlebow waste incinerator project, the fate of which is now in the hands of the Secretary of State. What the complainants have in common is a desire to see principles of integrity; accountability and transparency adhered to by the administration in County Hall.

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    John Martin

    Monday, February 4, 2013

  • If it were a ship it would have sunk. Got news for you Popeye, the SS Murphy sank last Friday taking the captain and his first mate with it. What was it the Sun said? Gotcha! And all other Tory councillors, best behaviour now the movement towards freedom for Norfolk from your horrible grasp is now underway.

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    Electra

    Monday, February 4, 2013

  • I have never voted Conservative but I hope that Cllr Borrett is appointed leader and is able to push ahead quickly with the much-needed incinerator to solve the County's refuse disposal problems.

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    blue tractor

    Monday, February 4, 2013

  • I've just noticed something about this article. The EDP say that the successor to Murphy will become leader of the County Council and will throw their names in the hats to take up that position permanently. No, EDP. The job of leader of the County Council goes to the leader of the largest party and it is earnestly to be hoped that the public will show enough good taste to get rid of enough of this bunch of mutts to enable another party less drunk on power to take over and run the Council properly. The Tory leader is not the permanent leader unless heshe is planning a coup. Oh oh, am I not seeing something here?

    Report this comment

    Electra

    Monday, February 4, 2013

  • If Cllr. Murphy wants to keep the issue of his conduct in the public domain, inevitably dragging the Tory party with him, he will just have to carry on pursuing his private case against Daivd White, who clearly is on record saying that he taped the conversation for 'his personal reasons', something he had never done in his whole career, not on behalf of any Norfolk taxpayer. Further, he did it on a private phone. Norfolk taxpayers could not possibly be liable for any such case, whether its the chief executive or any other member of staff clearly blurring the lines of the data protection act.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Monday, February 4, 2013

  • In today's world ... Most people do not know anyone involved in or even anything about the Norfolk council... MPs and politics are a measure of bad untrustworthy people ... With 650 MPs running the country one would expect the country to be in a far better state than the financial mess that it in now.... The result is that the majority of people now do not vote locally or nationally .. MPs etc have for years acted in a way that they have lost the respect of the public...

    Report this comment

    Lionel

    Monday, February 4, 2013

  • The BBC have reported that Chief Executive David White secretly recorded a telephone conversation with Mr Murphy and disclosed it illegally to a 3rd party as he had not advised Mr Murphy of the recording nor sought his approval to reveal it to another person.. Whilst I agree that Mr Murphy was guilty and should resign as a councillor, should not the behaviour of David White be investigated. I believe that Mr White should also resign for bringing the Council into disrepute.

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    Norfolk Lad

    Monday, February 4, 2013

  • I believe I made a comment the other day about how the bottom feeders would soon swim away from Murphy and attach themselves to another backside and here, right on cue, is 'blue tractor' to tow the party line and try to demonstrate some sort of wierd consensus to a Planning Inspector who's really not that stupid. This really is a PR disaster of magnificent proportions for Norfolk's Tories....

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    User Removed

    Tuesday, February 5, 2013

  • Just read Worzel Gummidge's remarks in the paper-hope he hasn't got any aspirations!!

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    maryjane

    Monday, February 4, 2013

  • Perhaps Plant might like to do something for the people of Bradwell, who actually voted him in instead of all this self serving rubbish. What does he know anyway. Just another self serving parasite who thinks of himself only and not the peoplre who voted him in.,

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    "V"

    Monday, February 4, 2013

  • Crikey! nothing going to improve then is it? They are all as bad as each other.

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    John L Norton

    Monday, February 4, 2013

  • What an interesting assortment of critters. What you should realise is that County Councillors tend to vote in blocks so if Plantlife as he is not so affectionately known has the support of Mackie then he has the support of the soft lads in Broadland. And Alison Thomas? That would be South Norfolk. The last vote many of them will make after the awful mess Dr C J Kemp has made of that area. Borrett is very pleased with himself because he was anointed Murphy's successor but has failed to realise that, because he was in Murphy's pocket all that time he was ruining the County Council there is an awful lot of information stored in the public domain about him. That will come pouring out and if he thought Murphy's life was made a misery he aint seen nothing yet. As for Ann Steward, what can we say. I suppose she has the best relationship with officers of the Council, very good in some cases. The forensic teams sharpening their pencils will be gleeful if she stands. What a ghastly choice faces the Tories of County.

    Report this comment

    Electra

    Monday, February 4, 2013

  • I also think Borrett is the right man for the job and hope he takes over. I also agree with an earlier poster who wants the incinerator built. This section seems to have been taken over by a handful of protesters making plenty of noise but others also have a right to an opinion without being shouted down. I think this plant should be built and it will create a lot of employment which we need right now. If the anti campaigners want to throw their usual insults then I am happy to post here every day in support.

    Report this comment

    Del Boy

    Tuesday, February 5, 2013

  • The Tories can change the label and the window-dressing but when the brand is toxic no-one wants to buy .Norfolk's Tories have ensured their own toxicity,a divided party run by a Norfolk "chumocracy".They have made Norfolk County Council unfit for purpose.

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    Peter Watson

    Monday, February 4, 2013

  • Let's be realistic - one trip to China does not make a leader - one chaotic week in the snow last month looks just TOO good on the CV-and foxhunter?? need I say more. If they do elect a new leader it will probably only be for a matter of weeks election day early May and then the electorate might get an input!!

    Report this comment

    maryjane

    Monday, February 4, 2013

  • What we need now is a new leader even more committed to the incinerator.

    Report this comment

    Rhombus

    Monday, February 4, 2013

  • If Cllr. Murphy wants to keep the issue of his conduct in the public domain, inevitably dragging the Tory party with him, he will just have to carry on pursuing his private case against Daivd White, who clearly is on record saying that he taped the conversation for 'his personal reasons', something he had never done in his whole career, not on behalf of any Norfolk taxpayer. Further, he did it on a private phone. Norfolk taxpayers could not possibly be liable for any such case, whether its the chief executive or any other member of staff clearly blurring the lines of the data protection act.

    Report this comment

    ingo wagenknecht

    Monday, February 4, 2013

  • I wonder who steward will flash her eye lashes to so that she can get her way? How much has she done for her ward since she was elected? Borrett like steward will still take advice from murphy and do as they are told and I cant comment on plant, I do thing they need someone new and a new cabinet so they can remove all the dead wood, and by golly there is an aweful lot of it.

    Report this comment

    Sweet cheeks

    Tuesday, February 5, 2013

  • Like it or not, these people were voted in. If you can do better than get off your backsides and put yourself forward for election. Democratic change not whinging and whining!

    Report this comment

    Andy T

    Tuesday, February 5, 2013

  • Go to page 4 of today's EDP: Gaffer says stand down all together, do not seek re-election. What happens, DM stands down all together and will not seek re-election. That Gaffer, he's got real leadership potential. Obviously he has learnt from his disastrous time as Breckland Council's leader. He really is wasted as the member for efficiency, sorry, what i mean to say is why have a waster in charge of efficiency. Just you wait for the final bill for Coltishall if you don't believe me.

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    Police Commissioner ???

    Monday, February 4, 2013

  • Bill Borrett would indeed push ahead with the incinerator because he is stuck 20 years in the past. He should be investigating the new alternatives it is not that difficult just some research you can find it all online these days.

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    Jack

    Tuesday, February 5, 2013

  • I have been told that Brian Long has put his name forward, I think he would be worth a go and if he got it wrong he could be replaced in may. At least he has not been on back handers like borrett, plant and steward.

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    Sweet cheeks

    Tuesday, February 5, 2013

  • I think this is getting beyond a joke, what is it with egos and politics, or is it just power and money? Most clever dictators surround themselves with pretty incompetent but loyal yes men, a prime example was Murphy's cabinet. Get your hat in the ring John Dobson and let's end get some changes made - please!!

    Report this comment

    Honest John

    Monday, February 4, 2013

  • Having read the article in the EDP today (4th February) regarding the prospective candidates for the Council Leadership, I was surprised to read that Mr. Murphy was shocked that Mr. White had taped a conversation. His comment “On what basis can evidence obtained in that way ever be used?” Excuse me but don’t the police do this all the time? Surely if you suspect someone of something, you can’t get straight answers and you want the truth, this is the only way. I admire Mr. White for having the guts to do this to try and expose the lies. There’s far too much of it been going on as I’m sure the next few days and weeks will bear witness. If Mr. Murphy would like to know what the people of Norfolk think about it, I for one think he has his day and he was very lucky to get off so lightly. Move on Murphy....please!!

    Report this comment

    Sandy.L

    Monday, February 4, 2013

  • I suspect Murphy will now sue NCC for every penny possible for the use of a recorded telephone conversation that has lost him his job. Whilst it is not illegal to record conversations without telling the other party, it is a risky business with legal ramifications if the content then causes loss when revealed to a 3rd party unless it is in the public's interest. Whilst many have sympathy with White's actions, I hope he sought legal advice beforehand. Maybe as he was retiring in April, White thought the risk was worth it to show Murphy in his true colours? I, for one, hope that any action brought by Murphy fails miserably.

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    JanieH

    Monday, February 4, 2013

  • Plant? You're joking right? The portfolio holder for Transportation who seems hell-bent on making the county grind to a halt through stupid 'stop-n-survey' roadblocks during rush-hour? The same man who oversaw the recent disaster with the lack of gritters on our roads for days on end thanks to a whole 2 hours of snow? The man who on one hand moans about the lack of funding for our buses but is happy to claim his 45p a mile to drive to Norwich instead of getting on the X1 and showing his support for public transport? It's ironic that he seems to think he's a steady hand on the tiller, considering that the last boat he went near was Kings Lynn's ferry service and that was only to take their budget away because he seems to think that people can levitate over the River Ouse....

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    User Removed

    Monday, February 4, 2013

  • Surely even the NCC Tories couldn't be stupid enough to crown Cllr Bill Borrett (Mr Incinerator himself) as their new leader. He was outed as the third man involved in the email saga at Murphy's hearing on Friday. Vaughan and Murphy both spoke of Borrett's involvement in planning the sending of the email. Why has Borrett not said anything before now? It seemed to be the only thing that Murphy and Vaughn couldn't agree on or had any ring of consistency. Cllr Borrett has serious questions to ask but no one seems to be asking them. What else is he hiding? Why does he seem so keen to defend the CEO, David White? There needs to be a full investigation into what is going on at county hall. Bring on the may elections when we can vote them all out!

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    pig in trough

    Tuesday, February 5, 2013

  • Bill Borrett, Ann Steward, and Graham Plant are not working for the Norfolk people they are agents for Tory Wheelabrator they are the puppets for NCC. Bill Borrett said if the incinerator is not built in King's Lynn then we will look at another site in Norffolk. So Coltishall is prime target as the ground is already polluted. If you live near Coltishall and these puppets manage to stay in cabinet then you need to get really worried. Opposition parties will not get a vote you will be ignored just like the 65,516 people in West Norfolk. They have betrayed the Norfolk people, you could never trust any of them again. They should all resign we a sick a tired of all there lies.

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    Jack

    Monday, February 4, 2013

  • Goodness help us! It's time to break up this little self serving bunch of corrupt dictators who have done their utmost to ruin this county whilst filling their own pockets and those of their friends.

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    Cuthbert J. Twillie

    Monday, February 4, 2013

  • Ann Stewart mentions she would like to stand as leader. She is the reason for all the problems we see today including Derrick Murphy’s resignation and David Whites predicament. Anne Steward was in charge of promoting the incinerator in west Norfolk and jumped ship when she realised incinerators are controversial whatever plant you live on. Derrick Murphy should have relinquished his duty as County Councillor of Freebridge ward that is affected by plumes from the proposed incinerator or stood down as leader to fight on behalf of his constituents. Because of all the underhanded goings on by NCC and Cory Wheelabrator picked as preferred bidder, with fines for fraud and polluting made residents anxious about incinerators especially as no help from their county councillor as Derrick Murphy made certain of that.

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    Emma Miller

    Monday, February 4, 2013

  • I hope none of you has placed a wager on the Gaffer in response to my earlier post. Following his letter in the EDP today, where he rambles like a madman plucking numbers out of the ether in defence of the indefensible RAF Coltishall purchase, I think he's blown his chances big time.

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    Police Commissioner ???

    Tuesday, February 5, 2013

  • Why on earth would lil Annie waste her time on her ward? You are missing the point. She is swept into office by the overwhelming support of people who buy into the Conservative brand in a quasi-religious fashion. Therefore she does not need to worry about trifling ward matters. There are bigger fish to serve if you want to get on. Consider for example the PM in his new guise of gay champion. He has made a calculated assessment that this latest high-profile headline-grabbing initiative will draw in more support than it will lose. Sure he has offended some grass roots hard-liners, but on the other hand he has already placated them with a vague promise of EU withdrawal. Once you are secure in the knowledge of an unassailable majority, you can safely chase interests farther afield, such as 2 Coldbath Square EC1R or even New Hampshire.

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    Mr Cameron Isaliar

    Tuesday, February 5, 2013

  • I've just worked out who can replace Murphy. Yes, that would be his best friend who sat in front of him at the hearing nodding like a Churchill dog, none other than George Nobbs, so called leader of the Labour cohort. Since no-one at County is a Conservative he may as well.

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    Electra

    Tuesday, February 5, 2013

  • Norfolk's electorate now need to know, a.s.a.p., who will be standing down and who will be standing again for all the parties and independents in Norfolk. Only then can we be involved in the democratic process of choosing who to elect, based on their life experience , knowledge of Norfolk as a whole and educational qualifications and how much time they can commit to being a County Councillor.

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    bedoomed

    Monday, February 4, 2013

  • Re the last few comments about Mr White, is this noit an example of whistle blowing? Events have shown it be justified. As for the would be successors - Borrett or Plant appear to me to be the last thing Norfolk, let alone the Council, needs. Surely Norfolk deserves a clean start?

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    andy

    Monday, February 4, 2013

  • What a touching opening shot on this video - George Nobbs being given his instructions by his boss, the man who put him on the payroll. And the result, a shot of Nobbs doing the right thing, condemming the CEO but forgetting about the lies his boss told. Well done, vote Labour! I love the pink tie but it would look better if the shirt was done up at the neck.

    Report this comment

    maryjane

    Wednesday, February 6, 2013

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

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