UKIP deputy resigns - By-elections could leave Norfolk County Council balanced on knife edge
PUBLISHED: 11:20 02 October 2015 | UPDATED: 11:20 02 October 2015
UKIP leader Toby Coke confirmed his deputy Stan Hebborn had resigned from his Watton ward.
That leaves UKIP with 13 seats on the council. While the Conservatives have 39 seats, if the Tories win the by-election held in Loddon, the result of which is expected later today, and the contest for Watton, this would increase to 41. Other parties hold 41 seats, while two councillors on the authority are non-aligned.
Mr Hebborn could not be contacted. UKIP leader Mr Coke said he had resigned because he was “not happy with certain things”.
“I’m not going to go into them,” he added. “There’s no ill feeling on the part of the group or anything. As a party, we wish Stan very well whatever he’s going to do now.”
Mr Coke said the balance of power on the council was “very finely balanced” before Mr Hebborn’s resignation.
“Depending what happens in the by-elections, it could get very close indeed,” he said.
Conservatives lost control of the council at the May 2013 election, in the fall-out of the row over the King’s Lynn incinerator.
Cliff Jordan, the party’s current leader at County Hall, said: “My target is 2017, to try and put in a new vehicle and get it sorted because the vehicle that’s operating now is an absolute car crash. They haven’t done what they should have done for two and a half years.”
Labour leader George Nobbs said: “I am no more concerned than every day since I took office.
“If the Conservatives are fortunate enough to win the seat from UKIP, and that is by no means a foregone conclusion, they will still only have one more seat than they had on Election Day 2013. The alliance is robust and more than able to weather any storms.”
A date for the Watton by-election is expected to be announced shortly.