Mark Bee hands in his resignation as leader of Suffolk County Council

Mark Bee has submitted his letter of resignation.

Mark Bee has submitted his letter of resignation. - Credit: Archant

Suffolk County Council leader Mark Bee has formally handed in his resignation as head of the authority in advance of next week’s annual council meeting.

Mr Bee, who has been leader since 2011, resigned as leader of the Conservative group on the council in March because he said he felt his position had been undermined by internal tensions within the ruling group.

He had hoped that cabinet member for finance Jenny Antill would be chosen to succeed him, but in the event former cabinet member Colin Noble – who had challenged his leadership last year – won the battle.

Mr Noble is now expected to be confirmed as new county council leader at next week’s annual meeting of the county council but could find life far from easy in his new role.

Many members of the Conservative group still feel aggrieved at the way, as they see it, Mr Bee was forced out of the top job.

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There have been suggestions that some could vote against the new leader or stay away from the meeting with a diplomatic illness.

Opposition groups at the county council are still trying to work out what to do at the meeting but accept they are unlikely to be able to make a decision until the day.

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All political groups are due to meet separately on Thursday morning before the afternoon meeting.

A Labour source said they hoped things would be clearer then, but they may only decide what to do once the meeting itself begins: “Frankly we won’t know what the situation is until we see to what extent the Tories are ripping into each other.”

And LibDem group leader David Wood was also in the dark: “Until we see what is happening, how can we know how to vote?

“Personally I’m astonished we’re in this situation – the cabinet seemed to be doing a good job, the county had a good reputation and then the Tories want to turn on each other. It’s quite extraordinary!”

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