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Norwich leader in call to arms

PUBLISHED: 07:30 05 April 2010 | UPDATED: 09:24 02 July 2010

City council leader Steve Morphew has hit back at opponents of Norwich's unitary plans with a challenge to those who would try and reverse the plans.

City council leader Steve Morphew has hit back at opponents of Norwich's unitary plans with a challenge to those who would try and reverse the plans.

City council leader Steve Morphew has hit back at opponents of Norwich's unitary plans with a challenge to those who would try and reverse the plans.

City council leader Steve Morphew has hit back at opponents of Norwich's unitary plans with a challenge to those who would try and reverse the plans.

Moves to create a new unitary authority were approved by both Houses of Parliament last month despite warnings that the new council could prove costly and its creation was potentially unlawful.

The Conservatives have vowed to scrap the proposals if they win the general election.

And Norfolk County Council is due to have its legal challenge against the plans heard in the High Court later this month

But Mr Morphew said all sides should now settle their differences and work to create a “prosperous Norwich and Norfolk in equal partnership”.

“Instead, more money will be wasted on a legal challenge to try to overturn the decision of both houses of parliament,” Mr Morphew said.

“A challenge to parliamentary sovereignty is worrying enough; but, when it will be heard a few days before the general election, where one party claims it will overturn the unitary orders if elected, a few eyebrows will be raised.

Why spend hundreds of thousands of pounds when in a few days the electorate will decide who runs the country?

Norwich now has the legal right and obligation to form a new council.

It is no longer a matter of arguing for it; that right would now have to be taken away by changing the law.

The council leader, said there was an overwhelming electoral mandate for a unitary council as it is supported by 34 of the existing 39 city councillors and had worked in the past.

“For hundreds of years Norfolk and Norwich were governed differently and thrived together,” he added. “History tells us it works; recent history shows us Norwich has not fulfilled its full potential under the system that has prevailed since 1974.

“The challenge for our opponents now is to justify taking away the right of Norwich to do different and the opportunity to work together as equals when it is right. If they want to take away the right of Norwich to retain self-determination, the democratic process is the proper way, not some expensive vanity court case on the eve of a general election.”


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