Special meeting to be held to elect new leader of Norfolk County Council

A special meeting of Norfolk County Council has been convened to elect a new leader. Pic: Dan Grimme

A special meeting of Norfolk County Council has been convened to elect a new leader. Pic: Dan Grimmer. - Credit: Archant

The new leader of Norfolk County Council will be elected next week, hours after the Conservative group votes on who should lead their group.

An extraordinary meeting of the council has been convened for 1pm next Friday, where the council will vote on who will succeed Cliff Jordan at the helm of the Conservative-controlled authority.

Earlier that day, the Conservatives at County Hall will meet to vote on who they want to lead their group, who would almost certainly end up being council leader.

Mr Jordan resigned from the council last week after he was diagnosed with lung cancer.He had been county councillor for Yare and All Saints since 2001, leader of the Conservative group since March 2015 and council leader since May 2016.

His deputy Alison Thomas is currently serving as acting leader until the meeting where Mr Jordan's successor is elected.

Councillors are currently considering whether or not to stand for the role.

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It remains to be seen whether Mrs Thomas, who represents Long Stratton, will seek the role on a permanent basis.

But there are a number of other potential successors within the Conservative ranks.

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Bill Borrett, whose division is Elmham and Mattishall, has experience, albeit briefly, of the role.

He became acting leader in February 2013 and was elected leader later that month.

But he only held the role until May that year, when the Conservatives lost control of County Hall.

Graham Plant, leader of Great Yarmouth Borough Council has challenged for the Tory group role before, without success. He might prefer to stand as a deputy for another contender.

Fellow district leaders Andrew Proctor, leader of Broadland District Council and Brian Long, leader of West Norfolk Council, could also be names in the frame.

Another possibility could be former North Norfolk District Council leader Tom FitzPatrick.

He succeeded Mr Borrett as leader of the County Hall Conservative group in 2014 and held the post for 10 months.

Martin Wilby, chairman of the council's environment, development and transport committee, who represents East Depwade, may also be interested.

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