Casting vote decides new Mid Suffolk District Council leader
A dramatic first meeting of the new-look Mid Suffolk District Council has resulted in a new leader – but went down to the wire and was settled by the chairman’s casting vote.
Suzie Morley became Conservative group leader earlier this month after Nick Gowrley failed to get re-elected.
However with 16 Conservatives and one Independent uniting in one group and the 12 Greens and five Liberal Democrats uniting opposite, the council was left in a deadlock.
Ms Morley and Green group leader Rachel Eburne had both been nominated as leaders of the council during Monday’s meeting, but new council chairman Lavinia Hadingham, Conservative, swung the decision in favour of the Tories with a casting vote.
Ms Morley, who previously served on the cabinet with responsibility for organisational delivery, said: “It’s a great and humbling honour to be elected as leader of Mid Suffolk District Council.
“I’m looking forward to working with all the groups. I want to work with both the Green group and the Liberal Democrats, and I’m sure we will. The will is there.”
With the council split, many of the decisions regarding membership of committees went down to chairman’s casting votes, which Ms Morley acknowledged could happen regularly.
Talks had been underway with the Green and Lib Dem camps following the election to try and come to an agreement, but the sticking point had been differing views over whether the council’s base should remain at Endeavour House in Ipswich, and investment in out of county retail and commercial properties through the CIFCO Capital Investment company.
Rachel Eburne said the Green group requested three positions on the cabinet to reflect the political split, but this was turned down and only non-portfolio cabinet positions – those without formal responsibility – were offered instead.
Ms Eburne said: “I think it’s really disappointing and it doesn’t reflect what the electorate have voted."