Norwich city council leader Steve Morphew to quit

Norwich City Council leader Steve Morphew has announced he will step down at the next local elections after 15 years of serving the city.

Leader of the city council for the past five years, he will not be among the candidates for the Mile Cross ward, guaranteeing a new leader at City Hall after the elections in May 2011.

The new Labour group leader will be selected by Labour councillors following the elections.

When Cllr Morphew steps down next year, he will have completed a term of five years as leader of the council, nine as leader of the Labour Group, 11 as a councillor for Mile Cross and, before that, four years for Nelson ward.

'There is no question of my stepping back from doing my best for our city or the Labour Party in Norwich, but it is time for me to make a change,' he said.

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'It is an enormous privilege to serve the people and a city like Norwich and I am extraordinarily grateful to have had that opportunity. I am very proud of what the council has achieved during my time as leader and very proud of the Labour councillors who have worked so hard and been so supportive.

'Running the council without a majority and consequently with fewer councillors places a big strain on everybody in the administration. I am proud of the fact we have kept a stable and reliable Labour controlled council for five years, despite there being more opposition councillors than the ruling group.

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'However, I think now is the right time to look for a different challenge. My term as a councillor runs its course in May 2011 and that feels like the right moment. I don't think it is healthy to go on too long for the sake of it and there are other things I want to contribute in different ways.'

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