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Former West Norfolk Council leader Stuart Dark stands down as Conservative group chief

A prominent councillor says it has been “an honour” to serve as West Norfolk’s Conservative leader as he prepares to step down.

Cllr Stuart Dark, who represents Snettisham on West Norfolk Council, has been the authority’s Conservative group leader since May 2021 after taking over from Cllr Brian Long.

He also served as the borough council leader for two of those years until last May’s local elections saw an Independent-led administration take control.

Cllr Stuart Dark has resigned as leader of West Norfolk Council’s Conservative group
Cllr Stuart Dark has resigned as leader of West Norfolk Council’s Conservative group

Cllr Dark has now announced that he will stand down as Conservative leader. He will be officially replaced after a vote at an AGM tomorrow evening (Thursday).

This will be in order to focus on his role with Norfolk County Council. He currently serves as its vice chair, meaning he is poised to become chair next month.

Having previously served as a cabinet member for both the borough’s Covid response and for environmental services and public protection, Cllr Dark has overseen his fair share of major events.

These included the start of the war in Ukraine, leading to a significant refugee support scheme being introduced in the borough, and the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

“When I took on the role, I never thought I would be there to see the death of the longest serving monarch in our history and then also there for the proclamation of the new King,” Cllr Dark told the Lynn News.

“It has been a great three years. It was an honour to lead the council for two of those years.

“I will be looking to support the new leader, whatever they want to do. It is right for me to focus on my impending county role.

“It is not a goodbye. I am hoping it is just a bit of a move to serve in a different role.”

Cllr Dark will continue to serve on the borough council, saying his position will be akin to that of a “backbencher”.

He has been leader of the opposition since May last year, when Cllr Terry Parish was officially nominated as the new council leader after the Tories lost out at the borough elections for the first time in two decades.

On the future of West Norfolk’s Tories, Cllr Dark added: “The key thing is there is room to improve, and hopefully the new leader will do that - and I will be behind them all the way in that.”

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