Steve Morphew is the new leader of Labour group on Norfolk County Council

County councillor, Steve Morphew, watches the count for the county council elections at St Andrews H

County councillor, Steve Morphew, watches the count for the county council elections at St Andrews Hall, Norwich. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

The opposition Labour group on Norfolk County Council has a new leader.

Former Norwich City Council leader Steve Morphew, who represents Catton Grove, successfully challenged George Nobbs for leadership of the 17-strong party at a group meeting on Monday night.

Mr Morphew said: 'I don't think anybody but George Nobbs would have held together the alliance that rescued Norfolk County Council from years of Tory neglect and infighting.

'He deserves recognition for the progress that was made during his time as council Leader and I want to go firmly on record in giving him credit. 'George has an important ongoing role to play in the Labour group and on the council.

'Times change and with a Tory majority Labour's style and approach must change too. Labour councillors will campaign with and for Norfolk's communities and people who deserve a better deal.

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'My job as the new Labour group and main opposition leader is to make sure every daft decision is challenged, every bit of hollow rhetoric is exposed and the case for Norfolk is put properly.'

The Labour group has a new deputy leader too with Emma Corlett replacing Colleen Walker.

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Mr Morphew added: 'The new Labour group is packed with talent and despite facing much greater numbers we expect to punch well above our weight.

'We will have the experience of Colleen and George, the expertise of Emma and new councillors like Chris Jones coupled and an encouraging spread of knowledge and ages that really reflect Norfolk.'

Following the leadership result, Mr Nobbs, who served as leader of the county council from 2013 until May last year, said: 'Having inherited a Labour group of three and increasing it to 14 at my first election and to 17 at my second and having been elected leader of the county council three times, I feel the party is in a far better state than when I inherited it.

'I would particularly like to thank Colleen Walker for her unfailing support and loyalty.'

Mr Nobbs, who successfully retained his Crome seat at last week's elections, added he was looking forward to his first holiday in eight years.

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