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Beccles councillor Elfrede Brambley-Crawshaw to step down as leader of Suffolk County Council's Liberal Democrat, Green and Independent group

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The leader of Suffolk County Council’s Liberal Democrat, Green and Independent group has announced that she is not seeking re-election in the polls in May.

Elfrede Brambley-Crawshaw, Green councillor for Beccles, has been the leader of the county council’s Liberal Democrat, Green and Independent group for the past year following a year as deputy leader.

However, she has confirmed she is not standing in the May 2021 elections for the county council. She will remain in her district councillor role for Beccles at East Suffolk Council.

Penny Otton (left) with Elfrede Brambley-Crawshaw (right)
Penny Otton (left) with Elfrede Brambley-Crawshaw (right)

“Being elected to the county council four years ago was one of the most exciting moments of my life,” she said.

“I have loved the role and have put my heart and soul into it, but being a ‘twin hatter’ is incredibly demanding. I am looking forward to having one role and re-claiming a bit of time for my family.

“Like many people I have been home-schooling and juggling work during the pandemic and this balancing act has made me reflect on my priorities.

“I am an all or nothing person so it’s important to me to only commit to things if I can do them 100 per cent.”

In 2017, Mrs Brambley-Crawshaw was the first Green councillor from the East Suffolk area elected to the county council, and has been a key campaigner on a host of issues in the chamber.

Among them include school transport provision, highways issues and the need for more special educational needs places.

However, one of her key campaigns had been around the authority declaring a climate emergency and pledging to become carbon neutral by 2030 – a motion she tabled in March 2019 with group colleague Robert Lindsay. That pledge will inform environment policy going forward at the authority.

Mrs Brambley-Crawshaw, a senior party figure in Suffolk who also stood for the Waveney seat at the 2017 and 2019 general elections for the Greens, confirmed that East Suffolk Council Green, Liberal Democrat and Independent group leader Caroline Topping and Peggy McGregor will stand for the seat in the county elections in May.

“I am so delighted that Caroline Topping and Peggy McGregor are standing together for the county elections in May,” she said.

“They are energetic, hardworking and community minded and it is so exciting to think that we might be able to grow our team like this.”

Another member of the group, David Wood, has confirmed he will not be standing in the county elections.

Mr Wood has served for 21 years with the authority for the Peninsula division as a Liberal Democrat, and has also spent time as a member of Babergh district and Tattingstone parish councils.

Mr Wood said his decision was in keeping with a pledge to his late wife Rita that the 2017 polls would be the last he contested.

His work has included being a key advocate of the Suffolk Coast and Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the impacts of the potential Sizewell C project, and served as the Liberal Democrat, Green and Independent group’s first leader in 2017 for a year.

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