May 18 2013 Latest news:
By MARTIN GEORGE
Saturday, July 21, 2012
A newly-formed group of independent councillors has ousted Labour as the main opposition group on Breckland Council.
Thetford Labour councillor Carl Clark’s decision to leave the party last month left Labour with just three seats, and the four non-affiliated councillors have now banded together to create a formal group of their own.
Their decision has deprived Labour leader Terry Jermy of his £2,600 annual allowance for leading the main opposition to the 45 Conservatives, which now goes to new Independent leader Terry Lamb.
Mr Jermy, who had given up full-time work to concentrate on his Breckland duties, said he was “not bitter but disappointed” but would now have to find work to pay his bills.
Mr Lamb said the money was the last thing on his mind, and he might distribute his allowance to causes in Thetford, the area he represents.
He said: “We knocked our heads together and thought why should we be separated. It will be a loose arrangement in all respects, unless there’s something we are united on. Otherwise we will go on our own independent way. It’s a bit of a contradiction, but apparently it does happen.
“Any opposition on Breckland is a bit farcical really because of the Conservatives’ absolute control. I don’t think the Labour group has made much of a go at being in opposition, so perhaps we should have a go.”
Conservative cabinet member and election agent Ian Sherwood questioned how a group of independents could function.
He said: “To me they are either independent or a group. I don’t see how you can be both. It’s beyond my understanding how you can represent the people. They were voted in on the understanding they were independent of being influenced by other people.”
Labour’s could regain its former status if it captured seats from the Conservatives in two by-elections next week.