New leadership change from opposition group for 2019/20

New leader of the Liberal Democrat, Green and Independent group at Suffolk County Council Penny Otto

New leader of the Liberal Democrat, Green and Independent group at Suffolk County Council Penny Otton (left) with her deputy Elfrede Brambley-Crawshaw (right). PIcture: LIBERAL DEMOCRAT, GREEN & INDEPENDENT GROUP - Credit: LIBERAL DEMOCRAT, GREEN & INDEPENDENT GROUP

An opposition group at one of Suffolk’s councils has announced a change of leadership ahead of the first meeting this month.

The Liberal Democrats, Greens and Independents at Suffolk County Council formed an opposition group, although it is not the formal opposition to the ruling Conservatives.

Green councillor Andrew Stringer had served as leader for the last year, taking over from long-serving Lib Dem David Wood, while Caroline Page from the Lib Dem contingent had been deputy in the last 12 months.

Now, ahead of the first meeting of the new council year, Penny Otton (Lib Dem) was confirmed as leader for the year with Green councillor Elfrede Brambley-Crawshaw serving as deputy.

It is understood that the group aims to change leaders each year in the spirit of "continued innovation and collaboration".

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Penny Otton, who also held her Rattlesden seat at last week's Mid Suffolk District Council elections, said: "I feel really honoured that the group is putting their faith in me.

"I'm proud that our political group at Suffolk County Council is doing politics in a different and collaborative way.

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"We are determined to hold this administration to account and intend to keep introducing exciting new ideas into the council."

Elfrede Brambley-Crawshaw meanwhile secured a seat at East Suffolk Council for the Beccles and Worlingham ward on Friday, dethroning ex-Waveney leader Mark Bee. She will serve as the Liberal Democrat, Green and Independent group's deputy at county level this year.

Outgoing leader Andrew Stringer, who remains a Mid Suffolk councillor, said: "I am delighted the group have unanimously chosen Penny and Elfrede to lead us this year.

"It is a huge endorsement of our fresh approach that we now have two women fulfilling the two leadership roles."

The two new group leaders will make their first representations in the role at the full council meeting on May 23.

The group formed in 2017 following the local elections as a rainbow alliance group, and aimed to be a united voice working for its communities and the benefit of Suffolk.

While that group is larger than the Labour group, Labour is the formal opposition party to the Conservatives.

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