WEST NORFOLK: Standards committee judges Murphy today
The future of former Norfolk County Council leader Derrick Murphy is likely to be decided in public today.
Chairman of the county council’s standards committee Tony Tomkinson said members are “mindful” to open up the session in the Norwich offices at County Hall.
The hearing has been called after the authority received seven complaints over Mr Murphy’s role in the sending of emails to a BBC radio host about West Norfolk Council’s proposals for a waste management plan and a leadership challenge to Nick Daubney.
Jenni Richards QC was asked to investigate the complaint and an executive summary was released with today’s agenda.
In a statement a county spokesman said: “The chairman of the county council’s standards committee has advised the county council’s monitoring officer, Victoria McNeill, that the standards committee members are minded to hold tomorrow’s hearing in public.
“None of those interviewed for the purposes of the investigation have raised any objection to the meeting being in public.
“In accordance with the authority’s procedures, a formal decision will be taken by the committee tomorrow morning.”
Last month Mr Murphy announced that he was stepping down “temporarily” in order to clear his name.
He told the Lynn News prior to the announcement: “I think it is important that the Norfolk public hear the evidence. I have consistently said I wanted it in public as I want everyone to hear the evidence.”
When asked what the future would hold, he replied: “We will wait and see what happens after Friday. I don’t deal with hypothesis and speculation.”
Borough council leader Mr Daubney, who has not been asked to give evidence, has welcomed the news.
He said: “I think openness and transparency is always the right thing to do and I think this hearing should be held in public.”
Mr Daubney later stated: “If you are taken to this level of questioning, you have to ask yourself, whatever the ruling, what your own future should be. If I was in that position, I know what I would do. If I felt I had lost the trust of my colleagues I would not want the job.”
The Lynn News approached standards committee members to ask if the meeting would be in secret.
Mr Tomkinson had said that he was going to speak to members to decide a decision before the meeting.
He said: “I think it would be jolly unfair to make an announcement at the meeting. People coming from 50 miles away will want to attend.”
Brian Hannah (Lib Dem), who represents Sheringham, would not comment on his decision and stated “It’s nothing to do with you.”
Old Catton member Judy Leggett said: “I have absolutely no comment.”
Michael Langwade (Con), who represents Gaywood, said: “I am sorry but I can’t make any comment on that.”
Other committee members Richard Bearman, John Ward and Ronald Hanton did not reply to the Lynn News.
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Saturday 18 May 2013
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