South Norfolk Conservatives defer discussion of Norfolk County Council leader’s conduct

Members of the Conservative association in whose patch Norfolk County Council leader Derrick Murphy is hoping to secure his political future next year have deferred further consideration of complaints over his conduct.

Mr Murphy currently represents the Freebridge Lynn division, the site of the proposed incinerator at Saddlebow, but in May it was announced he would fight the Forehoe division, 50 miles away, for South Norfolk Conservatives in next year's county council elections.

However, two individuals, including Conservative Jon Herbert, the current holder of the Forehoe seat, had complained about Mr Murphy's conduct to the South Norfolk Conservatives, urging the association to expel or deselect him.

A meeting of the association's management team was held last night, where it was agreed that the association would not consider the issue until a separate investigation into Mr Murphy's conduct was completed by Norfolk County Council. The council's senior standards enforcer has set up an independent inquiry after seven members of the public complained about Mr Murphy's role in the affair of a controversial email sent by taxpayer-funded Conservative political assistant Kevin Vaughan on April 18.

The county council has been locked in a bitter dispute with West Norfolk Council over the planned incinerator at King's Lynn and a county council investigation concluded Mr Murphy was behind the email which appeared to undermine West Norfolk leader Nick Daubney.

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Christopher Kemp, deputy chairman of South Norfolk Conservative Association, said the complaint to the public authority must take precedence and only after that was concluded would the association decide whether any further discussion was necessary.

Mr Murphy previously said the complainants who had contacted South Norfolk Conservative Association had 'absolutely no evidence on which to base their statement'.

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