Colin Noble wins the race to become Suffolk County Council leader
The new Conservative leader of Suffolk County Council will be Colin Noble, taking over from Mark Bee next month.
He has been selected after a meeting of the 37 members of the Tory group at Endeavour House today, defeating fellow leadership candidate Jenny Antill.
He immediately becomes leader of the Conservative group at the council – but Mark Bee will remain leader of the authority itself until the annual council meeting on May 21.
For Mr Noble it was third time lucky – he had failed in leadership bids in 2011 and 2014 – but this time he took the top job.
There will now be much speculation on whether this will herald a change in direction for the council.
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Mr Noble was a key member of the cabinet when former leader Jeremy Pembroke and chief executive Andrea Hill were in charge at Endeavour House – and he was a keen advocate of the controversial “New Strategic Direction” policy.
Today Mr Noble said he was keen to do things in the “Suffolk way.”
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Speaking immediately after his election, Mr Noble said: “I am Suffolk born and bred and I feel there is a Suffolk way of doing things and I shall be looking at working with the districts and boroughs across the county to ensure we are able to do as much as possible for the people of Suffolk.”
Mr Noble has until the annual meeting of the council until he presents his first cabinet – but there are likely to be several changes to that of Mr Bee.
And the new group leader will have to work hard to heal the wounds that have opened up within the group after two bruising leadership elections.
He said: “I will be talking to members of the group over the next few weeks to ensure that their views are represented.”