Leading councillor faces tough election

A leading Norfolk councillor is facing a tough re-election battle after being deselected from her seat.Jacky Howe, Lib Dem group leader on the county council, lost out in a bid to run again for her Melton Constable division, and will instead contest the neighbouring Holt division.

A leading Norfolk councillor is facing a tough re-election battle after being deselected from her seat.

Jacky Howe, Lib Dem group leader on the county council, lost out in a bid to run again for her Melton Constable division, and will instead contest the neighbouring Holt division.

But she could face an uphill election battle as Holt is currently held by long-standing Tory councillor John Perry-Warnes, who is again contesting the County Hall poll on June 5.

The county elections have been dominated by a series of political manoeuvrings largely brought on by turf wars and positioning between district and county councillors over the unitary issue.


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Last year council leader Daniel Cox was forced to fight another division after being de-selected from his Wymondham seat in a suspected putsch sparked because of unhappiness at the unitary issue.

Meanwhile it had been rumoured that some sitting Labour councillors in Norwich could be challenged by city colleagues when the party selects its candidates at the end of the month.

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But Mrs Howe, who is also the group's adult social services spokeswoman, said her issues were more localised.

The Melton Constable seat straddles two local party branches - Broadland and North Norfolk - and Mrs Howe, who is a member of the latter, resisted a call from activists to switch to the former.

Instead the party selected Barbara Rix, widow of the late county councillor Graham Rix, to fight the seat.

'I have always been a member of the North Norfolk association and wished to remain so, but they decided they wanted a candidate who was a member of the Broadland party,' she said. 'To describe me as having been deselected is technically true in that they have selected someone else, but I have been selected for Holt.

'I could have changed but I didn't see that as necessary. I have never been a local party activist in the sense that I don't do the tea parties and fundraising things.

'It was never made clear to me until the last minute, but it isn't a big deal as far as I'm concerned.'

And Mrs Howe also dismissed suggestions she had lost out because of failing to attend parish council meetings as 'mischief making'.

'We have got 23 parish councils in Melton Constable and sometimes there are three or four or them who all hold their meetings on the same night,' she added. 'Parish clerks are aware of that and make me very aware if there is an item in the agenda that I can assist with and I go to these meetings.'

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