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New cabinet unveiled for Mid Suffolk District Council

The new cabinet for a deadlocked Suffolk council has been confirmed after a fresh leader was announced on Monday.

Mid Suffolk District Council’s Conservative group leader Suzie Morley secured the authority’s leadership on Monday night with a casting vote, and confirmed that the group had been unable to strike a deal with the Green and Liberal Democrat groups.

Currently, the 16 Tories and one Independent have united, while the 12 Greens and five Lib Dems have also come together in opposition, leaving the council deadlocked.

Suzie Morley, leader of Mid Suffolk District Council. Picture by Paul Nixon. (10955597)
Suzie Morley, leader of Mid Suffolk District Council. Picture by Paul Nixon. (10955597)

It meant that on a number of occasions – including in the election of a new council leader – the casting vote of Conservative council chairman Lavinia Hadingham was needed.

On Wednesday, Ms Morley’s new cabinet was unveiled.

“I think it’s a good idea to have a move around as it brings fresh thoughts and different ways of thinking,” she said.

“It’s not just a question of people’s skills, it’s their attitudes and ways of working. It’s not just their knowledge and skill level but their empathy.

“I think we have got a good mix of new people coming in with fresh ideas and people who have been on the cabinet before.”

Independent Gerard Brewster had already been named as deputy leader, while John Whitehead carries on in his role as finance cabinet member.

As well as being leader, Suzie Morley will also hold the portfolios for assets and investments, and customers and improvement.

The remainder comprises Julie Flatman (communities and housing); David Burn (planning); Jessica Fleming (environment); and David Gould (no portfolio), who has experience running Northamptonshire Council a decade ago.

The Green group said it had requested three cabinet positions during talks with the Conservatives, as it would better represent the split of the vote, but turned down because a consensus could not be reached on out-of-county investments and the council’s headquarters.

Green group leader Rachel Eburne added: “We are disappointed that the Conservatives, who did not gain a majority in this election, rejected our proposal to form a joint cabinet representing the will of the people.

“They seem determined to cling on to power as though the election did not happen.

“As the Green group and the Liberal Democrat group represent half of all councillors and more than half of all the votes cast in the election, it would be disrespectful to them and to those who voted for us to accept anything less than at least an attempt at a proportionate and balanced cabinet.”