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Babergh District Council cabinet member David Busby becomes fifth to leave cabinet in a week

Another Babergh District Council cabinet member has resigned their front bench role, meaning five of the 10-strong cabinet have left in a week.

Liberal Democrat councillor for Copdock and Washbrook, David Busby, confirmed he has resigned his cabinet role for assets and investments on Friday morning.

He had been a part of the council’s coalition cabinet since May 2019, and served alongside five Conservatives and four Independents.

Cllr David Busby. Picture: Paul Nixon.
Cllr David Busby. Picture: Paul Nixon.

It follows the dismissal of Independent Derek Davis from the cabinet earlier this week amid a row over his journalism day job, a move which prompted a protest resignation from the three other Independents on the cabinet – Clive Arthey, Alastair McCraw and Elisabeth Malvisi.

All five remain councillors.

Cllr Busby penned a letter to Conservative leader John Ward, and said: “I have the ability to work with most people but, in terms of ethos, there is a chasm between me and the controlling influences of the rest of your cabinet.

Cllr John Ward. Picture: Babergh District Council.
Cllr John Ward. Picture: Babergh District Council.

“I may be naïve in believing that party politics has no role to play in local government, as we should be putting all of our efforts into delivering the best and most appropriate services for our residents, but the harm that putting party before resident can bring has been exemplified over the last 12 months with the destruction of a focussed and respectful cabinet.”

Cllr Ward has confirmed he will announce a new-look cabinet next week, set to be a Conservative minority administration for the 12 months until the May 2023 elections.

“I am sad that Dave has resigned and I would like to thank him for his work and support while he has been in cabinet. He has been an effective cabinet member and a useful voice on the cabinet,” Cllr Ward said.

“However, I am now in the process of putting together a minority administration, a Conservative cabinet.

“There will be fewer members but we will focus on the important things we know need to be done between now and the elections in May 2023.”

Among priorities Cllr Ward said the administration would focus on support for Ukrainian refugees which arrive in the district, continuing the authority’s net zero carbon ambitions, progressing the joint local plan and support for people through the cost of living pressures.

The council has only once had an overall party majority since 1974, meaning coalition administrations are a common occurence in the district.