Stronger opposition 'good for West Norfolk' - independent leader
The head of West Norfolk’s independents said he had been “shocked” to come within a handful of votes of potentially gaining power at the borough council.
The group won 15 seats on the new council, making it the main opposition ahead of Labour, who have 10.
But, for much of Friday’s count at Lynn’s Corn Exchange, there had been the distinct possibility of the two sides having the chance to join forces in a coalition to take control of the authority.
The eventual clean sweep by Conservative candidates in the Woottons ward, following several recounts, ended that hope, with the Tories claiming a majority of just one seat.
However, Independent group leader Jim Moriarty was confident the result would lead to improvements for the public.
He said: “If you had asked me two weeks ago would the Conservatives have been in power effectively by three votes, which is what they won one of their seats by, I would have been shocked, so I am shocked,
“It is still a Conservative-run council, but they’ve got a much stronger opposition, a much wider breadth of opposition now.
“We will hold them to account and make sure, I think, that better things will happen for the people of West Norfolk.”
Mr Moriarty also expressed the hope that the tone of the campaign would be continued in the new term.
He said: “It’s been a very respectful campaign and I hope the respect that has been shown to opponents, which hasn’t necessarily been evident in the past in the council chamber and in some meetings, will become more evident.
“They have to show us more respect because the people of West Norfolk have given them a bit of a jolt.”
Conservative leader Brian Long said his side would be receptive to proposals from across the chamber.
He said: “We now have a council of 55 councillors. Those 55 councillors are all responsible for West Norfolk borough. Ideas that can make West Norfolk better are right for everybody."