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Doubts over Norwich self-rule plans

PUBLISHED: 08:51 26 March 2010 | UPDATED: 17:11 30 June 2010

Fresh doubts hung over Norwich's ambitions for self-rule last night after a senior Tory insisted the party would tear up plans approved by parliament this week - if they win the general election.

Fresh doubts hung over Norwich's ambitions for self-rule last night after a senior Tory insisted the party would tear up plans approved by parliament this week - if they win the general election.

Shadow local government secretary Caroline Spelman came to Norfolk yesterday to “set the record” straight over the Tories' handling of the Norwich unitary issue in parliament - re-stating that the party would make a manifesto commitment pledge to stop the new council in its tracks if it won the election.

City Hall's unitary dream cleared parliament this week after Tory peers refused to break parliamentary convention and throw their weight behind a Lib Dem motion - the only realistic chance of scuppering the plans.

One Tory peer, Viscount Ullswater, who is also a West Norfolk borough councillor, defied the party whip, and the climbdown sparked angry allegations from Conserv-atives locally that the party had “bottled it”, and had fallen short of a clear comm-itment they had received from Central Office to stop the plans in the Lords.

Tory peers instead supported a motion

of delay, which they insisted would see off the plans, by making the government think twice - but ministers waited barely two days before approving the orders on Wednesday.

Ms Spelman, who held a hastily arranged private meeting with Tory council leaders yesterday, insisted that the Tories had not caved in this week and had in fact secured an “impressive victory” in the Lords on Monday.


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