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Councillor compares opponent to Donald Trump in consultation row

A councillor who stormed out of a meeting has likened an opponent to Donald Trump.

Daniel Roper, leader of Norfolk County Council’s Liberal Democrat group, walked out of cabinet scrutiny after learning a fire and flood risk consultation document had been shared with the Conservatives before the meeting.

He said it was “outrageous something has been shared on a party-political basis.”

Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service. (19994911)
Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service. (19994911)

But deputy chairwoman, Conservative councillor Alison Thomas, said other members of the committee could have asked for copies of the consultation.

She said: “To suggest it’s a last-minute bombshell is disingenuous and misleading to the public.”

Speaking after the meeting, Mr Roper said: “I’ve been an elected councillor for 15 years and I’ve never done that before.

“The point of scrutiny is that people aren’t party political. We’re there to hold the administration to account. The way they went about it was appalling.”

He added: “For Alison Thomas to say ‘well you must have known this document existed’ is taking this to Donald Trump’s level.”

The councillors met to review a decision for a fire and flood risk plan to go to public consultation, after the Conservative-controlled cabinet’s decision to ask people for their views was called-in by councillors claiming the draft “lacked detail”.

The consultation seeks views on:

• Equipment, technology, vehicle and data reviews;

• Plans to share cardiac arrests responses with paramedics;

• Maintaining the specialist water rescue capability;

• The adoption of new national response time standards.

During the meeting on Tuesday, October 22, it emerged that the Conservative councillors had been given the draft document ahead of the discussion.

Mrs Thomas did not respond to Mr Roper’s comparison to the US President and former reality TV star. She said: “I can’t comment on whether he had asked for [the draft] or not. I’m more interested in what people think of the consultation.”

She added: “The draft was referenced in the cabinet papers. Perhaps he hadn’t read them in enough detail to know that [but] it was there in black and white.”

Margaret Dewsbury, cabinet member for communities and partnerships, said there were no plans to cut firefighter or fire engine numbers or to close fire stations.

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