Tories threatened with expulsion will stay in group following vote

North Norfolk councillors Hilary Cox and Nigel Dixon. Picture: NNDC

North Norfolk councillors Hilary Cox and Nigel Dixon. Picture: NNDC - Credit: NNDC

Two Tory councillors have avoided the threat of expulsion from their group after they joined a new cross-party cabinet against the wishes of their group leader.

Conservative councillors on North Norfolk District Council voted not to expel Hilary Cox and Nigel Dixon at a meeting on Saturday, December 8.

It followed Mrs Cox and Mr Dixon accepting positions on a new cabinet formed by Liberal Democrat Sarah Bütikofer, after she took over as council leader from Conservative John Lee on November 21.

After the new cabinet was announced, Mr Lee asked Mrs Cox and Mr Dixon to resign from the group, but they refused.

Mr Lee said following the meeting: 'A vote was taken and the outcome was not conclusive either way so both councillors remain members of the Conservative group.'

Mrs Cox said she was pleased to be able to stay in the group.

She said: 'There was no expulsion of either Nigel or myself at the group [meeting].

'I'm happy with that. I had broken group rules by accepting that post but, having said that, I believe, for me, it's the right thing to do.

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'I serve the community, and my idea is to work with the wider group in the cross-party cabinet to benefit the district.'

Mrs Cox added that she was acting in the interests of 'people, not politics', and said: 'I'm sorry it caused so much upset within the group.'