Council leader could stand down

THE Conservative leader of a district council has said he is prepared to sacrifice that position if he is elected to county level, the EADT can reveal.

By Roddy Ashworth

THE Conservative leader of a district council has said he is prepared to sacrifice that position if he is elected to county level, the EADT can reveal.

John Jowers, the head of Colchester Borough Council, said he was standing for a seat on Essex County Council in May.

He added his decision was spurred by a desire to improve links between the two Tory run councils, which have different powers and responsibilities in the local government structure.


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Currently the Labour group on Colchester Borough Council has two councillors who also sit at county hall while the Liberal Democrats have four. But the Conservatives - the biggest group - have none.

Yesterday Mr Jowers said: “I am going to stand for county, and if I get elected I shall probably stay as leader in Colchester for a year.

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“It will, of course, be up to the Conservative Group at the borough - if they think I'm not able to lead earlier, that will be the time to go. But at the moment that's the plan.

“If I am a back bencher at county I doubt that will be too much of an onerous task.”

He added: “I don't think Colchester gets as good a shout at county as it could, especially considering they are both Tory run.

“With four major regeneration projects in the town, I think we need a bit more 'oomph'.”

The Boundaries Commission recently redrew Essex County Council wards, with the new ones coming into force at the May election.

Mr Jowers intends to stand in the new Pyefleet and Stanway Ward.

Last night speculation was growing about who would take over as head of the local Tory group after Mr Jowers left.

Robert Davidson - currently deputy leader and cabinet member - appears to be favourite.

But also in the running are Kevin Bentley - if he fails to topple Bob Russell as Colchester MP at the upcoming General Election - and former Tory group leader Nigel Chapman.

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