It was meant to be his final bow after almost a decade of public service.

But Tony Holden's valedictory speech as a Wymondham town councillor did not quite go as he had hoped.

He was cut off within seconds by the mayor and chairwoman, Suzanne Nuri-Nixon, after he started criticising the running of the council.

Despite his attempts to continue speaking without the microphone, the meeting quickly fell into disarray.

Eastern Daily Press: Tony Holden has quit Wymondham Town CouncilTony Holden has quit Wymondham Town Council (Image: Sonya Duncan)

It was then suspended altogether by Ms Nuri-Nixon, before she decided to resume it by speaking over Mr Holden. 

He finally gave up attempting to give his speech and headed out of the council chamber.

The furore has prompted a row at the town council, with the chairwoman defending her decision to stop Mr Holden from speaking, saying she was preventing "verbal attacks".

However, others have said he was unfairly silenced.

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Mr Holden was the town's last remaining Conservative member after the party lost control of the council to the Liberal Democrats last May, when 10 of its councillors were voted out.

Standing to explain his departure, the former mayor expressed his pride at some of his achievements during his tenure before then taking aim at the clerk, who he believes has too great an influence over the remaining members.

He said: "For nine years I have been a member of this council and although I have not seen eye to eye with fellow councillors I think I have served the people of Wymondham with energy, enthusiasm and to the best of my ability.

"But I am also saddened, saddened to see this administration allow itself to be so willingly led by the clerk."

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Eastern Daily Press: The market cross in Wymondham's historic town centreThe market cross in Wymondham's historic town centre (Image: Denise Bradley)


It was at this point - 30 seconds in - that Ms Nuri-Nixon interjected, saying "I think I better cut you off there... If you carry on I will have to suspend the meeting."

To which Mr Holden answered: "Well suspend it then."

This led to confusion among attendees who began to walk out while Mr Holden continued to read his resignation speech from a piece of paper, adding: "You have achieved nothing."

Ms Nuri-Nixon then decided to resume with the meeting, speaking over the outgoing councillor as he proceeded to finish his statement before asking him to "please keep quiet while I speak, thank you very much."

After this, Mr Holden walked out the meeting, before the public was then excluded as discussions moved to confidential matters, although there was some confusion among members as to whether this was done through the correct procedure.

Following the debacle, Ms Nuri-Nixon laughed loudly and said: "Oh my goodness."

Eastern Daily Press: Tony Holden stands to address the meeting at Wymondham Town CouncilTony Holden stands to address the meeting at Wymondham Town Council (Image: Wymondham Town Council)


The Liberal Democrat district councillor has since said it was "no secret" that Mr Holden did not see eye-to-eye with the clerk.

"I had to stop the meeting after he began making verbal attacks towards the clerk," she said.

"As we have a duty of care to our employees, I have to ensure our staff are not attacked publicly in this way so I felt I had to cut him off."

It is believed the fallout followed Mr Holden becoming the sole Conservative party member at the council after the dramatic political shift last May.

Eastern Daily Press: Mayor and chair of Wymondham Town Council, Susanne Nuri-NixonMayor and chair of Wymondham Town Council, Susanne Nuri-Nixon (Image: Suzanne Nuri-Nixon)

Since the Lib Dems took overall control, Mr Holden has become frustrated with the authority's direction.

The disagreement with the clerk is understood to centre around decisions on how the council spends its money, such as a £1m fund to make improvements to the town centre.

Earlier in the meeting, Mr Holden spoke of his frustrations at the hesitancy of the council to commit to a plan for the project.

Mr Holden has declined to comment.

Ms Nuri-Nixon added: "As a council, we try and work collaboratively across political divides.

"It is a shame Mr Holden did not feel like he fitted in. I assume he felt he was not being listened to."

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Eastern Daily Press: Councillor Michael RosenCouncillor Michael Rosen (Image: Norwich Labour)


But other members of the council feel Mr Holden should have been allowed more time to speak at the meeting and explain his decision to quit.

Michael Rosen, a Labour councillor, said: "It is disappointing he was not given the chance to explain himself.

"While I may disagree with his politics, Mr Holden has contributed a lot to the town's governance over the last decade. It is a real shame we did not get an opportunity to thank him."

His resignation letter has since been circulated among the remaining members.

Following Mr Holden's decision to quit, a by-election will be called for North Wymondham ward if the position is contested by more than one person.