New Yarmouth mayor and deputy elected amid opposition anger

Adrian Thompson, chairman of Filby in Bloom and current deputy mayor, is set to become mayor of the Great Yarmouth borough. 

Independent councillor Adrian Thompson was sworn in as mayor on Tuesday - Credit: Great Yarmouth Borough Council

Independent councillor Adrian Thompson has been elected as Great Yarmouth borough’s new mayor.

Mr Thompson was sworn in at a Tuesday council meeting after a majority of councillors voted him in to the position, though nine councillors abstained and one voted against. 

He replaces councillor Sue Hacon, who resigned and was suspended from the Conservative group on the council in July after she left the house despite a member of her family having Covid.

The new mayor’s father, David Thompson, served as mayor from 2001 to 2002. 

After donning the ceremonial robes of office, Mr Thompson said: “Fellow councillors, thank you for the confidence you’ve shown in me in electing me as mayor of the borough of Great Yarmouth.

“I’ve enjoyed the last four months as deputy mayor and I look forward to the next eight months as your mayor, upholding the traditions of this fine office.”

The election of Mr Thompson’s deputy mayor saw a more heated debate, with Conservative councillor Graham Plant nominated and voted into the position. 

Graham Plant, leader of Great Yarmouth Borough Council, giving his speech at the Christmas reception

Conservative councillor Graham Plant was elected as deputy mayor - Credit: Archant

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Labour leader Trevor Wainwright said he found it “incredible” that Mr Plant, who among other positions serves as deputy leader of Norfolk County Council, will have the time to fulfil his role. 

“Something, I feel, will have to give,” said Mr Wainwright. 

Councillor Trevor Wainwright, leader of the Labour group in Great Yarmouth. Picture: Ella Wilkinson

Labour group leader Trevor Wainwright - Credit: Archant

He also explained that Labour would not be putting forward candidates for the mayoralty and deputy mayoralty, “although clearly it was our time under the present agreement”, he said.

“Since 2001, it has always been practice to alternate the mayoralty between the two main parties,” he later added. 

“Of course during that time we have seen UKIP councillors and a UKIP mayor and independent councillors, one of who has been appointed this evening - I wish Adrian well and I’m sure David would be very proud.”

Mr Wainwright said the practice of alternating the mayoralty had never been laid down in the constitution, and a constitution working party meeting in February 2020 had agreed that a further meeting would set out a more formal protocol for the nomination of mayor and deputy mayor.

Though that meeting was delayed by Covid, a council officer confirmed that a meeting date has been set for October 25.