Lib Dems pick new leader for Norfolk County Council group

Brian Watkins, Liberal Democrat county councillor for Eaton. Pic: Liberal Democrats.

Brian Watkins is the new leader of the Liberal Democrat group at Norfolk County Council. - Credit: Liberal Democrats

A new leader has been elected for the Liberal Democrat group at Norfolk County Council.

Former leader Steffan Aquarone stepped down as leader shortly after he was re-elected as county councillor for Melton Constable ward on May 7.

He said he could not support his party's stance to back the Norwich Northern Distributor Road Western Link, which left the party looking for a new leader.

And Brian Watkins, who represents Eaton at County Hall, has been unanimously elected as group leader, with Tim Adams, councillor for Cromer, as his deputy.

Mr Watkins said: “There are big challenges and decisions ahead for this council and the Lib Dems will always work to get the best results possible for Norfolk residents.

"The people who voted Liberal Democrat at the elections will expect nothing less.

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"They will also expect us to hold the Conservative administration fully to account and provide effective scrutiny. We certainly intend to do that.

“We will be seeking better answers from the council.

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"Norfolk has to do better economically but in a sustainable way that has the council making the climate emergency a much higher priority.

"It also has to provide the care and support for all those people who need it but not by passing cuts straight onto those who are the least able and need the most help.”

Tim Adams, one of the co-ordinators of Cromer Cares community group.

Tim Adams is deputy leader of the Liberal Democrat group at Norfolk County Council. - Credit: Tim Adams

Mr Adams, elected unopposed as deputy leader, said: "Getting the best recovery in Norfolk from the coronavirus pandemic will need the county council to listen to everyone and deliver for all its residents.

"There will be questions to be answered on what could have been done better and what the true cost has been.”

Following the elections, the political make-up at County Hall is Conservatives 58, Labour 11, Liberal Democrats eight, Greens three, Independents three and one vacancy.

The vacancy is due to the election for Sewell ward being postponed until June 17, following the death of Conservative candidate Eve Collishaw.

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