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Leader offers his resignation

PUBLISHED: 05:03 25 February 2003 | UPDATED: 16:20 24 February 2010

THE leader of Colchester's Liberal Democrat group last night offered his resignation as leader of the borough council after three of his party's members quit.

THE leader of Colchester's Liberal Democrat group last night offered his resignation as leader of the borough council after three of his party's members quit.

But his offer to the Conservative leader to take over the reins was turned down on the grounds it was “not in the best interests of Colchester.”

Colin Sykes is no longer head of the largest group at the town hall after councillors Gerard Oxford, his wife Beverley and Ian Ringer left the Lib Dems last week.

Their departure from the party leaves Mr Sykes with just 23 seats in the chamber, while Conservative leader John Jowers has 24. The Lib Dems previously held 26.

Mr Sykes offered the leadership of the council to Mr Jowers on the basis of an agreement at the beginning of the municipal year.

This stated that the leader of the largest group at the town hall would be leader of the council.

“I said to John he knew what the agreement was and my offer to stand down was there if the Conservative group wanted me to.

“He came back to me and said his group had looked at the issues and decided it was not in the best interests of Colchester.”

Mr Jowers said: “With only eight weeks to go until the council elections, we decided on grounds of expense and disruption it was not in the interests of the town.

“Colin has enough of his own problems in Colchester's crumbling and fractured Liberal Democrat group. We don't intend to add to those.

“Instead we will allow the electors to speak for themselves in May.”


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