Suffolk: Leader gets backing from most of cabinet
Most of Suffolk County Council’s cabinet have signed a letter backing leader Mark Bee in his battle against Colin Noble.
Finance spokesman Mr Noble wrote to county councillors on Monday telling them that he would be challenging Mr Bee for the Conservative group leadership at its Annual General Meeting on April 10.
Now five of the eight members of the cabinet have put their names to letters being circulated among councillors backing Mr Bee.
Senior cabinet members Lisa Chambers, Graham Newman and Colin Spence said: “We signed up to our Cabinet roles on the understanding that the only way we – as a Conservative Group – could get through these difficult times, and secure another victory in 2017, was by sticking together, being always loyal to each other, working as a team and presenting a united front to the outside world.
“It is deeply disappointing that not all Cabinet members have shared this belief.
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“We wholeheartedly support Mark, because he was, is, and will continue to be, the right person for the job. He was the one who retrieved the situation for us when he took over in 2011.
“He was the one who led the Group to victory in 2013, at a time when other Conservative-run counties were losing control.
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“He is the leader who has steered us through an extremely difficult year – managing relationships and enabling people to work together – in a way that no-one else could have done.
“The outside world – included our national Conservative colleagues – will look at us in amazement if we look to change course now.
“While many in our Group will have individual concerns about our direction there is no doubt that other, neighbouring, counties look on in envy at the relative stability and calm there is in Suffolk.”
Cabinet member for adult services Dr Alan Murray said: “I am pleased also to heartily endorse Mark’s leadership of our group and the Council as a whole.
“Times are not easy for any cabinet member but faith has been shown in me and I believe strongly in loyalty and commitment to the cause and the man. Now is not the time for division and disharmony.”
Cabinet member for communities Rebecca Hopfensperger has also given her backing to Mr Bee.
Mr Noble was not able to attend Tuesday’s cabinet meeting, and was not available for comment on the cabinet’s backing for Mr Bee.