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Update: New Conservative leader at Norfolk County Council

PUBLISHED: 13:46 02 May 2014 | UPDATED: 14:19 02 May 2014

Tom FitzPatrick, the new leader of the Conservative group at Norfolk County Council.

Tom FitzPatrick, the new leader of the Conservative group at Norfolk County Council.

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The opposition Conservative group at Norfolk County Council has a new leader - Tom FitzPatrick.

The Conservative group held their annual general meeting today where Mr FitzPatrick was chosen by his group to succeed Bill Borrett. The two men were the only candidates for the leadership.

Mr FitzPatrick represents Fakenham division on the county council. He is also leader of Conservative-controlled North Norfolk District Council, where he represents Walsingham Ward.

He said: “I am honoured and delighted to have my colleagues’ trust, confidence and support to lead the group for the year ahead.

“The Conservative Group has remained a strong force in opposition, and I look forward to continuing to build on this strength and to take the group forward, delivering on the promises we made in our manifesto.

“I know there will be speculation about any changes to the Conservative front-bench but I will be working with the group in the coming days with an announcement to follow as soon as possible.

“I would like to thank Bill for the time he served as group leader and hope to build on the foundation he has laid for the group.”

Mr Borrett, who had been leader of the Conservative group since February last year, following a stint as acting leader, said: “I wish Tom FitzPatrick all the best for the forthcoming year and remain a committed member of the group, as there is much to do on the behalf of the people of Norfolk in these difficult financial times.

“I am sure that he will do an excellent job and he has my full support.”

Mr Borrett, who represents Elmham and Matishall, added: “The Conservative Group has worked tirelessly over the last year to fight for the services that the residents of Norfolk depend on, and I thank all my colleagues for their help over that time.”

The Conservative group elected Ian Mackie as its deputy group leader, together with Judy Leggett as group secretary and Colin Foulger as group treasurer.

The Conservatives are the opposition group at County Hall, with 40 members. Labour have 14, UKIP 13, Liberal Democrats 10, and the Greens four. There are two independents and one non-aligned member.

The council is controlled by a Labour/Liberal Democrat alliance, supported by UKIP.

George Nobbs, Labour leader of Norfolk County Council said: “I want to send Tom my warmest congratulations. I think he will be a fine leader of the Conservative opposition at Norfolk County Council and I sincerely look forward to working closely with him for the good of the people of Norfolk.”

Norfolk County Council will meet on May 27 to elect a leader, ahead of the authority switching to a committee system.

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