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Norfolk County councillor quits Labour group in protest at incinerator proposals

PUBLISHED: 17:09 27 February 2014 | UPDATED: 17:09 27 February 2014

Councillor Alex Kemp. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Councillor Alex Kemp. Picture: Matthew Usher.

© Archant Norfolk 2014

A West Norfolk county councillor has today quit the Labour group to become an Independent.

Alexandra Kemp, county councillor for Clenchwarton and Lynn South, has resigned from the group to join Richard Bird as an Independent.

It means that Labour now has 14 councillors at County Hall, the same as UKIP, with the Tories on 40, LibDem 10, Green 4 and Independent 2.

Ms Kemp said she was quitting because she was not prepared to toe the party line on controversial plans for an incinerator, near King’s Lynn.

She said: “In the Labour group and the Conservative group on the council, they have the whip systems, which means you are forced to vote in a certain way.

“I’m against the proposal for an incinerator near King’s Lynn, but at every meeting, pressure was being put on me by the Labour group not to vote or speak about it, despite it being a key manifesto pledge for me.

“All the people in my division have supported me on it and asked me to fight for them. We are supposed to speak up on their behalf.

“We need to have control over our own fate in west Norfolk. I would like to see the party whip system abolished at County Hall.

“I’m quitting because it got to a point where I felt I could no longer go to the meetings.

“I felt that that the Labour Whip wanted to get rid of me, because I would not toe the party line.

“I wrote to the Leader of the Council George Nobbs to speak to him, but he won’t meet me. George has not spoken to me for about a year, but my door is always open for him.”

She was elected last May for a 4-year term as a county councillor, and her resignation won’t prompt a new election.

As reported, Communities secretary Eric Pickles has yet to make a decision on whether to allow planning permission for the £596m Norfolk incinerator.

Critics of the incinerator have been pushing for the county council to come up with a Plan B, saying it would be cheaper to send it to Suffolk or Amsterdam.

The county council has always said the incinerator is value for money and would save taxpayers millions of pounds a year compared to landfill.

The leader of Norfolk County Council, George Nobbs was unavailable for comment.

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