Five Labour city and county councillors have quit the party in a dramatic evening that has left City Hall without a majority group.

Four city and one county councillors have quit Labour and will stand as Independents, citing local and national concerns. 

The move means Labour no longer has majority control of Norwich City Council, but it remains the largest group.

The members are Emma Corlett, deputy Labour group leader at Norfolk County Council; Cate Oliver cabinet member for Wellbeing and culture at City Hall; Karen Davis; Rachel Everett and Ian Stutely. 

Ms Davis previously stood as the party's candidate for Norwich North. 

Norwich Evening News: Karen DavisKaren Davis (Image: supplied by Karen Davis)

They will now stand as Independents. 

All, except Rachel Everett, are members for the Town Close area. Ms Everett is the councillor for Lakenham.

Norwich Evening News: Former Labour Deputy Leader Emma CorlettFormer Labour Deputy Leader Emma Corlett (Image: Archant)

In a statement, the Town Close members said: “After long and careful consideration we have made the heartbreaking decision to leave the Labour Party and become Independent councillors.  
“There are many reasons, but in essence we no longer consider the current national and local Labour Party matches the overriding principles that guide our work as Town Close councillors. 
“We will relentlessly focus on standing up for Town Close residents and our work in the community that makes a difference.  
“We will be making no further comment at this time.” 

The move came as a surprise and it is not entirely clear why the group have departed the Labour Party. 

However, it follows a series of resignations by Labour councillors across the country, largely in response to the party’s refusal to back a ceasefire in Gaza.

Before this evening Labour held 23 seats on the city council, the Green Party 13 seats and the Liberal Democrats three seats.

The make-up is now Labour 19, Greens 13, Independents four, and Liberal Democrats three.

Steve Morphew leader of the Labour group at County Hall said Ms Corlett's departure was "disappointing" but stressed her dispute was not with the county group.

He said: "We will continue to work hard for the interest of Norfolk with or without Emma."