Suffolk: Mark Bee retains the leadership of the county council
16:09 10 April 2014
County council leader Mark Bee has seen off a challenge from cabinet member Colin Noble for the leadership of the Conservative group on the authority.
Members of the 39-strong group re-elected him after a dramatic Annual General Meeting at which the final result of the leadership ballot was believed to be very tight.
The exact number of votes for the two candidates has not been published, but it is understood to have been very close.
And it is understood there was a clear east-west split among councillors at the meeting, which was held behind closed doors.
Mr Noble stood because, he said, some members of the group felt their concerns were not being reflected by the leadership – and because of worries about the close ties that have been built up with Labour-led Norfolk County Council.
The contest was seen as a distraction by many Conservative councillors – and Mr Bee received support from MPs and from most leaders of Tory groups on district councils in Suffolk.
Lisa Chambers was re-elected deputy leader of the group, beating current council chairman Guy McGregor by a much more significant majority than Mr Bee had.