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Calls for by-election after former Labour county councillor becomes an independent

PUBLISHED: 16:54 17 November 2017 | UPDATED: 16:54 17 November 2017

Former Labour councillor has become an independent on Norfolk County Council. The party's group leader Steve Morphew has called for him to resign to trigger a by-election. Photo: David Hannant and Densie Bradley

Former Labour councillor has become an independent on Norfolk County Council. The party's group leader Steve Morphew has called for him to resign to trigger a by-election. Photo: David Hannant and Densie Bradley

Archant

A senior Labour politician has called on his former colleague to resign his council seat to trigger a by-election.

The call comes after county councillor for the Yarmouth North and Central division Mick Castle announced he had quit the Labour Party to sit as an independent.

Mr Castle said he felt “extremely badly treated” by the party over his support for the establishment of a new special school at the old Alderman Swindell site which is set to close.

The Labour group leader on Norfolk County Council Steve Morphew said Mr Castle should resign and trigger a by-election because people had voted for a Labour councillor.

Mr Morphew added: “For the sake of integrity, anyone who leaves their political grouping should stand again.

“If local politicians flit around between parties it’s not something that’s going to sit well with people locally.

“The idea that Mick can sit as an independent for three and a half years isn’t credible.

“Him and the people from Ukip who defected on the borough council should offer themselves for re-election now.”

He added that the Labour group has become much more community focussed and now expects higher standards of behaviour from Labour county councillors. Mr Morphew added: “Mick has struggled with this so I’m disappointed but not surprised. I assume he will now resign his seat and seek a new mandate for his views.”

The move comes just weeks after seven Ukip councillors defected to the Conservatives on Great Yarmouth Borough Council and there were calls for those councillors to resign their seats to trigger by-elections.

Mr Castle said he did not think a by-election would serve the area well.

He added: “My policies are the same. In the present climate of austerity and cuts from the government, I will be voting the same way as the Labour party.

“I’m looking positively at what I might achieve over the next few years for the community.”

Mr Castle has been a Labour councillor for nearly 30 years, on both the county council and the borough council.

The political make up of the county council has not radically changed, as the Conservatives still hold a majority of seats.

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