Conservatives take control of Norfolk County Council as Greens abstain

PUBLISHED: 11:04 09 May 2016 | UPDATED: 11:32 09 May 2016

Norfolk County Council leader George Nobbs faces a battle on Monday to retain control of the council. Photo: Bill Smith

Norfolk County Council leader George Nobbs faces a battle on Monday to retain control of the council. Photo: Bill Smith

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The Conservatives have taken back control of Norfolk County Council after their leader Cliff Jordan defeated Labour’s George Nobbs in a leadership contest.

Conservative Cliff Jordan is now leader of Norfolk County Council.Conservative Cliff Jordan is now leader of Norfolk County Council.

At the annual general meeting at County Hall today, Mr Jordan beat Mr Nobbs by 41 votes to 37.

Four Greens abstained, while UKIP’s Jonathon Childs voted for Mr Jordan.

Conservative Alison Thomas has become the authority’s deputy leader.

The council had, since 2013, been controlled by a so-called rainbow alliance of Labour, UKIP and the Liberal Democrats, with Mr Nobbs as leader.

Last May, Mr Nobbs won the support of 42 votes compared to Cliff Jordan, leader of the Conservative Group, on 39.

But the four Green county councillors wrote to Mr Nobbs, who represents the Crome ward, announcing they would abstain from the vote at Monday’s council meeting.

Richard Bearman, leader of the Green group, said they would stand back from the vote as a result of Mr Nobbs’ “ardent support for constructing the Norwich NDR, and the shambles of the content of the devolution agreement”.

“Our objection is also to the content of the agreement,” he added. “There is no mention at all of climate change, the biggest issue facing us this century.”

After winning today’s vote Mr Jordan said the “three-year experiment” of an alliance had been brought to an end.

“We believe that for the last three years this council has gone backwards,” he said. “The difficult decisions have been ducked and the can has been kicked firmly down the road.

“Today, that changes. We will get this council moving forward again, focusing on what matters and running a council for the benefit of everyone in Norfolk.”

Green leader Richard Bearman acknowledged his group’s decision to abstain, which came just days after his party lost four Norwich City Council seats to Labour, would be “held against them by some”.

But he said: “This is about the leadership of the county council and George Nobbs’s showing on devolution, the NDR and pursuing central government cuts.

“And we feel the Conservatives need to stand up and take responsibility for their own government’s cuts.”

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