Former West Norfolk Council leader left out of top team amid ‘sacking’ claims

Incinerator costings press conference held by Henry Bellingham MP, Liz Truss MP and Nick Daubney the Leader of the Council.
Incinerator costings press conference held by Henry Bellingham MP, Liz Truss MP and Nick Daubney the Leader of the Council.

Former West Norfolk Council leader Nick Daubney has left the authority’s ruling cabinet, amid conflicting claims over whether he resigned or was sacked.

It is understood that Mr Daubney, who stepped down as council leader last year after nine years in the role, supported Lord Howard in a challenge to current council leader Brian Long at the Conservative group’s annual meeting last week.

But, after that challenge was defeated, Mr Long was confirmed as the council’s leader for the next two years at its annual meeting on Thursday.

Yesterday, Mr Long said his election as chairman of the Conservative group was part of its normal procedures.

He said he had also spoken with Mr Daubney on several occasions prior to his party’s group meeting.

He said: “I appreciate he’s been at the front of what’s been going on in the borough council for a long time and I appreciate he wants to take a back seat.

“He was deputy leader for four years, had nine years as leader and 12 months in my cabinet.

“Credit where credit is due, that is a substantial amount of public service.”

But Mr Daubney said he was “very disappointed” not to still be part of the cabinet, having most recently served as portfolio holder for systems and economic development.

He said: “We were pushing ahead with new systems for customer service and I’m very sorry not to be able to see them through, but I will continue to serve as I can, of course.”

Peter Hodson, who represents the Watlington ward, has been appointed to the cabinet in Mr Daubney’s place.

However, Mr Long said he would be reviewing cabinet members’ responsibilities with his colleagues over the coming days.

The new cabinet will hold its first meeting next Tuesday, May 23.