Ex-mayor quits over leadership style in ruling Conservative group at council

Councillor Michael Langwade, who has resigned from the ruling the Conservative group on West Norfolk

Councillor Michael Langwade, who has resigned from the ruling the Conservative group on West Norfolk Borough Council .Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: IAN BURT

A former mayor has quit the ruling Conservative group on West Norfolk Borough Council (WNBC), claiming its leadership style stifled freedom of expression by Tory councillors.

Michael Langwade said there was nothing personal about his resignation to become an independent but that the Conservative group's dynamics and leadership style meant he could no longer be a part of it.

Mr Langwade, who was mayor between 2003 and 2004 and deputy mayor from 2007 to 2008, said councillors 'are not being involved in decision-making' and added: 'I was unpopular at times because I expressed my views.'

However, council leader Nick Daubney denied the claims, saying policy is decided by councillors and then acted upon by the leadership – not the other way round.

'We discuss absolutely everything in group,' Mr Daubney said. 'The leader is chosen by the group and we do actually have to represent their point of view.

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'We all have our own leadership style. He obviously didn't like mine. I'm disappointed but I have to accept his point of view.'

Mr Daubney said he had expected Mr Langwade to resign at the same time as fellow councillors Paul Foster and Mike Pitcher.

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They also quit the Conservative group on the council earlier this year in protest at claims some of the area's waste might be sent to neighbouring counties to be incinerated.

Mr Daubney said he was not expecting other members of his group to resign but Mr Langwade said: 'I know there's dissatisfaction from some of the other members.

'I can't name names and whether people are preparing to cross the line I can't really say.'

Mr Langwade went on to say: 'Margaret Thatcher and Gordon Brown all stayed in post too long. They ran out of steam and people wanted change.

'Nick Daubney has been leader for about six-and-a-half years. During that time he hasn't changed. There needs to be a complete reshuffle, in my opinion.'

Mr Langwade said the proposed incinerator at Saddlebow was one issue where his views were stifled.

What do you think about Mr Langwade's decision to resign? Write to: Letters Editor, EDP, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE or email EDPLetters@archant.co.uk

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