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Mayor hits back at accusations of 'disgusting lack of diversity'

PUBLISHED: 15:39 15 May 2019

Martin Ford of Wymondham in Bloom, left and councillor Kevin Hurn who has been co-ordinating the council's efforts.

Martin Ford of Wymondham in Bloom, left and councillor Kevin Hurn who has been co-ordinating the council's efforts.

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People in a Norfolk town have expressed their frustration following the election of the deputy mayor.

Jack Hornby was elected as the deputy mayor of Wymondham at last  night's council meeting. Photo: Michelle FinchJack Hornby was elected as the deputy mayor of Wymondham at last night's council meeting. Photo: Michelle Finch

People in a Norfolk town have expressed their frustration following the election of the deputy mayor.

Wymondham Town Council swore in its new mayor and chairman, Kevin Hurn, taking over from predecessor Tony Holden.

Mr Hurn was elected to South Norfolk Council this year and said he wanted to use his position as mayor to address issues such as oversubscribed local schools and improving access for disabled people in the town.

Liberal Democrat councillor Suzanne Nuri and Conservative district councillor Jack Hornby both nominated themselves for the role of deputy mayor, splitting the vote 50/50.

Suzanne Nuri narrowly missed out on election to deputy mayor. Picture: Suzanne NuriSuzanne Nuri narrowly missed out on election to deputy mayor. Picture: Suzanne Nuri

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Mr Hurn was given the deciding vote and asked fellow district councillor Mr Hornby to take the role.

The 25-year-old councillor said: "I am truly honoured to have been elected as Deputy Mayor of Wymondham, after having already been a councillor for 4 years. Being only 25 and having lived with disabilities all of my life, I feel I can bring a new vision to the leadership of the Council, reflecting my difficult journey to the office."

The decision was met with heckles from one member of the public, suggesting Mr Hornby shouldn't have been allowed to vote for himself and some in the town said they were disappointed with the lack of diversity in the council's leadership.

One woman, who wished to remain anonymous, said: "The voters of Wymondham sent a clear message in our local elections that we wanted a more diverse council and the chance to elect a deputy mayor from another party would have been the perfect way to mark a new direction for Wymondham Town Council.

"They chose to elect two white, male, Conservative candidates into both roles, ignoring the chance to elect a popular female councillor from an ethnic background into the deputy position."

However Mr Hurn said he made his decision based on his deputy's experience as a councillor and tenacity overcoming disabilities.

He said: "Jack has had a challenging life living with cerebral palsy and Asperger's and he's done remarkably well. We think it's right he should be given recognition for his dedication and although I know people have concerns, I know we can work well together."

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