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Conservative leader in north Norfolk demands resignation of two senior members

PUBLISHED: 08:25 27 November 2018 | UPDATED: 10:33 27 November 2018

John Lee, former leader of North Norfolk District Council. Photo: Denise Bradley

John Lee, former leader of North Norfolk District Council. Photo: Denise Bradley

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The Conservative group in North Norfolk has plunged further into chaos, with its leader calling on two further senior members to resign.

Hilary Cox, portfolio holder for leisure, culture and leisure on North Norfolk District Council Pic: Norfolk Conservatives.Hilary Cox, portfolio holder for leisure, culture and leisure on North Norfolk District Council Pic: Norfolk Conservatives.

It comes after Hilary Cox and Nigel Dixon accepted positions on new Liberal Democrat district council leader Sarah Butikofer’s cross-party cabinet.

In an email seen by this newspaper, John Lee, who was ousted from his post of council leader last week, requested the resignations of Mrs Cox and Mr Dixon.

It has emerged members of the Conservative group had agreed to boycott any invitations from Mrs Butikofer to join the cross-party cabinet the new leader had proposed.

However, it was revealed on Monday that Mrs Cox was to be portfolio holder for leisure, culture and licensing, and Mr Dixon would retain his portfolio of economic development, business and tourism.

Nigel Dixon, portfolio holder for economic development, business and tourism on North Norfolk District Council Picture: NNDCNigel Dixon, portfolio holder for economic development, business and tourism on North Norfolk District Council Picture: NNDC

In the email, Mr Lee wrote: “Dear Nigel and Hilary. I have received confirmation that you have both agreed to join the cabinet.

“You are both perfectly aware that over the weekend our group decided we would not support a cross-party cabinet. Therefore, with great sadness I have to ask you to resign from the Conservative group.”

Mr Lee went on to add: “The voters of north Norfolk are being treated with utter contempt by this administration that has been foisted on them by self-serving councillors.”

Mr Lee served as leader of North Norfolk District Council for eight months, however, his tenure was brought to an abrupt halt last week, after a vote of no confidence was tabled and Mrs Butikofer elected leader.

Should Mrs Cox and Mr Dixon oblige and resign from the group, it would mean that in the past 22 months to group will have lost 14 members - 13 through resignation.

It would also leave no Conservative representation in the cabinet.

Mrs Cox and Mr Dixon are experienced members of the council. Mrs Cox has been in post since 2011, is a former chairman of Norfolk County Council and was made an MBE for her services to local government. Mr Dixon was elected in 2007 and is also a county councillor.

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