Former Norfolk County Council leader Derrick Murphy dies
The former leader of Norfolk County Council, Derrick Murphy, has died.
Tributes are today being paid to Mr Murphy, who led the authority between 2010 and 2013 and also served on West Norfolk Council. His wife, Janet, also served on both authorities.
North West Norfolk MP Sir Henry Bellingham said he had been a highly successful politician and campaigner.
He added: “I owe a huge debt of gratitude to Derrick. He was my agent in 2005 and he was effective, efficient and brilliant.
“He was, in many ways, a remarkable man. I will always regard Derrick as a vital part of my political life.”
First elected to West Norfolk Council in 2007, he became a county councillor two years later and took over as leader in 2010.
Although he was also well known for his work in education and history, he will be most remembered in West Norfolk for playing a central role in the row over plans for a waste incinerator on the edge of Lynn which ripped the Conservative Party apart during his time as leader.
His political career ended when he was found to have breached the authority’s code of conduct in a row over the sending of a damaging email about West Norfolk Council’s then leader, Nick Daubney, to BBC Radio Norfolk presenter Nick Conrad.
However, he accused senior County Hall officials of acting unlawfully by secretly recording conversations they had with him.
Although they were on opposing sides of the incinerator argument, Sir Henry said Mr Murphy had achieved a great deal in other areas, particularly education, and took a “brave” decision in pursuing a policy that had already been established before he took over as leader.
He added: “I think people in West Norfolk, and his electors, will want to remember the good times and the many cases he helped to solve.
South West Norfolk MP Liz Truss said: “Derrick worked hard with me on key campaigns like the dualling of the A11 and helping to secure the long term future of RAF Marham.
“My thoughts are very much with his family and friends at this sad time.”
And former Conservative Party chairman, and Great Yarmouth MP, Brandon Lewis tweeted: “Very sad to learn of Derrick passing away, he was always focused on the best for Norfolk. Thoughts are with his family & friends.”