Norfolk County Council Conservatives keep Bill Borrett as leader, while Liberal Democrats go for Marie Strong

Bill Borrett will remain as leader of the Conservative group - and will now have talks over whether

Bill Borrett will remain as leader of the Conservative group - and will now have talks over whether he continues as Norfolk County Council leader. Picture: Matthew Usher. - Credit: Matthew Usher

Bill Borrett has remained leader of the Conservative group at Norfolk County Council, after his party unanimously returned him to the position.

Dr Marie Strong, the new leader of the Liberal Democrat group at Norfolk County Council.

Dr Marie Strong, the new leader of the Liberal Democrat group at Norfolk County Council. - Credit: Archant

There had been speculation that Mr Borrett, county councillor for Elmham and Matishall, could face a leadership challenge in the wake of the county council election results, but it failed to materialise.

The group met at County Hall at 10am this morning to pick their leader and to discuss the way forward, with UKIP's remarkable rise meaning no group has overall control of Norfolk County Council.

The political make-up of Norfolk County Council is Conservatives 40, UKIP 15, Labour 14, Liberal Democrats 10, Greens 4, Independents 1.

The most likely scenario for control of County Hall would seem to be a minority Conservative administration.


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When asked yesterday about what could happen next, in terms of alliances and partnerships and whether his party could work with UKIP, Mr Borrett said: 'What I would say is I don't want to rule anything out and what we are all interested in is the right thing for Norfolk, so hopefully there will be a lot of common ground.'

Mr Borrett retained his own division by 477, but lost three high-profile members of his cabinet - deputy leader Ann Steward, Graham Plant and Barry Stone.

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If the Conservatives do end up running the council as a minority administration, that means he will need to reshuffle the cabinet and find a new chairman, with Jim Shrimplin having lost his seat.

The Liberal Democrat group has also met today. Dr Marie Strong has been elected leader, with James Joyce as her deputy. Dr Strong, who represents Wells, had been deputy leader to Mike Brindle, who decided not to stand in these elections.

The Labour group, which missed out on becoming the opposition party by a single vote in Thetford West, will meet tomorrow.

UKIP are likely to meet on Monday, where the party will need to discuss who is going to lead them.

In yesterday's elections, UKIP took almost 23.5pc of the vote, compared to the Conservatives 32.6pc.

With a turnout of 32.14pc, the Liberal Democrats, who gained a seat, took just shy of 11pc of the vote, the Greens 6.55pc and independents 3.27pc.

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