‘The people of North Norfolk deserve better’ - reaction to latest councillor quitting North Norfolk council’s Conservative group

Sarah Butikofer, Liberal Democrat leader at North Norfolk District Council. Pic: Liberal Democrats.

Sarah Butikofer, Liberal Democrat leader at North Norfolk District Council. Pic: Liberal Democrats. - Credit: Liberal Democrats

'The people of north Norfolk deserve better' - that's the message from the Liberal Democrat group leader at the district council, Sarah Butikofer.

It comes after seven district councillors have quit the ruling Conservative group on the council in the last four months.

She said: 'Holders of public office should act solely in the terms of the public interest. I have always said and I still fervently believe, politics at a district council level is for election time; the rest of the time we should be doing our best to work together to represent the people who placed their trust in us. This does not mean we do not challenge the leadership or provide effective opposition.

'Councillors are elected to do a job for their local communities, to be their representatives and to help when they encounter difficulties or system failings. We pride ourselves on listening to and acting upon the needs of our communities, working with our residents to improve their lives. We have won three recent by-elections on this basis, so residents clearly value this too.

'Those Conservative councillors who have chosen to go Independent have all clearly stated they believe they can better serve their communities outside the constraints placed upon them by the current Conservative administration. It is for their communities to decide if they agree with this decision.

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'After seven resignations in the past four months the political leadership of the district council is not listening to the deep discontent and disquiet within its own members. Despite those leaving citing concerns about the leadership, nothing has changed.

'NNDC needs its political leadership to listen to these concerns and act differently. The current situation cannot be helpful to hardworking officers and staff who continue to provide services to residents.'

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She said the Lib Dems would fight the Sheringham North by-election, following Doug Smith's resignation from the Conservative Group, and his joining the Independents.

She added: 'At the Sheringham North by-election, when it comes, we are more than happy to listen to the residents of Sheringham and ask for their support.

'Cllr Smith has been a well-respected councillor for Sheringham North, but clearly the fact he is now living away from the area means his position is not sustainable. We welcome the opportunity to contest the seat, and our candidate looks forward to the opportunity to hear what matters to residents and if elected, the chance to work to make their lives better.'

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