New Conservative administration at Suffolk confirmed in wake of landslide victory
PUBLISHED: 16:30 25 May 2017 | UPDATED: 16:30 25 May 2017
Suffolk's victorious Conservative group was confirmed as the administration at the county council for the next four years at a tetchy annual meeting of the authority.
Tory Colin Noble remains as council leader – and in his acceptance speech showed that his party’s overwhelming victory in the May 4 election had not blunted his combative style.
He said his group had been returned to power with a 29-seat majority on the 75-seat council because voters believed it was better placed to run local services than any other party.
He said: “We are philosophically wedded to lower council taxes. We are philosophically wedded to being careful with other people’s money.
“And we are philosophically wedded to protecting front line services while getting the best value for money.”
Mr Noble said his group was committed to the proposals for the new Upper Orwell Crossings in Ipswich and the third river crossing in Waveney – a scheme that Labour had failed to bring forward during the 13 years it had been in government with a Labour MP.
There were calls from the Labour opposition for Mr Noble to concentrate on the county council, not the general election campaign.
Answering him, Labour group leader Sandy Martin – who is his party’s parliamentary candidate in Ipswich – described the speech as “petty, vindictive and insulting.”
He feared that cuts proposed by the county would hit people across Suffolk – and said his group would continue to oppose them.
He said: “It is the nature of Democracy that one has to accept the verdict of elections, whether one agrees with the reasons that people voted or not.
“But it does NOT mean that we have to believe we were wrong. We were not wrong, and over the coming years the residents of Suffolk will – unfortunately – come to see that we were not wrong.”
The Liberal Democrats, Greens and Independents have come together to form a 12-strong group at the council and get additional administrative support and leader David Wood said they would also oppose the administration.
Framlingham councillor Stephen Burroughes was elected as chairman of the council, taking over from Colin Spence. Michael Ladd, from Southwold, is the new vice-chairman of the authority.