INCINERATOR: Council leader stands down as standards hearing looms
The leader of Norfolk County Council has stood down with immediate effect but insists he will clear his name in a standards hearing.
Derrick Murphy, pictured, announced he was stepping down on Wednesday following revelations he faces a standards committee hearing on February 1 over his role in the sending of damaging emails about West Norfolk Council and its leader to a BBC radio station.
In a memo to fellow Tories, the Freebridge Lynn councillor wrote: “As you may imagine my preparation for the hearing is taking a considerable amount of my time and attention at a time when, as leader, I should be focused on working with my cabinet to prepare for the 2013 budget. It is my hope and expectation that I will clear my name and return as leader, but in the meantime, I am standing down with immediate effect for what I regard as a temporary period of absence.”
Deputy leader Bill Borrett has been named acting leader.
It emerged last July that Mr Murphy had asked a county political assistant to contact BBC Radio Norfolk host Nick Conrad.
A later email said more than half of borough councillors were refusing to support leader Nick Daubney in a challenge to his leadership, which he overcame, and that the authority had failed to secure a rival waste plan to the incinerator.
A contract between the borough council and the Material Works consortium was signed last month.
Mr Daubney said: “We’re both council leaders and that gives us responsibility to answer to the public properly.
“For one leader to undermine another leader is wrong. To tell an officer to do that is wrong. To allow an inquiry to take place when you know the answer is wrong.
“Bill Borrett and I disagree on whether there should be an incienrator but I find I can debate with him sensibly and we can make progress.”
The case against the Lynn incinerator is set to be made in Parliament next week. North West Norfolk MP Henry Bellingham has secured an adjournment debate on the issue in Westminster Hall next Wednesday, January 16. Meanwhile, two motions opposing the incinerator will be debated by the county council on Monday. Labour’s Alexandra Kemp has demanded the scheme is scrapped on health grounds, while Tory John Dobson wants rival waste plans to be looked at. And, in a separate development, Graham Groom, of the Horsham-based Persona Associates, has been appointed programme officer for next month’s public inquiry.
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Weather for King's Lynn
Wednesday 22 May 2013
Temperature: 4 C to 14 C
Wind Speed: 14 mph
Wind direction: North west
Temperature: 4 C to 10 C
Wind Speed: 22 mph
Wind direction: North west