Update: Former leader of Lib Dems on North Norfolk District Council joins Conservatives
PUBLISHED: 14:25 16 May 2013 | UPDATED: 14:25 16 May 2013
Copyright Nicholas Manthorpe 2011
A former Liberal Democrat leader on North Norfolk District Council has jumped ship to join the Conservatives.
Glyn Williams, who represents the Worstead ward, announced his decision, which has immediate effect, last night.
Virgina Gay, current leader of the NNDC Lib Dems, said Mr Williams had written to the group giving his reasons but she declined to say what they were.
“This news is not unexpected but we were sorry to lose Glyn from the group. Everybody must make their own decisions,” said Mrs Gay.
She also declined to comment on whether Mr Williams should resign from the council and seek re-election as a Conservative. “The law is quite clear that this is up to the individual,” she added.
Mr Williams took over from Mrs Gay as leader of the Lib Dems on April 1 2012 when she stood down. But when Mr Williams developed health problems, she resumed the role in September of the same year.
Tom FitzPatrick, leader of the NNDC Conservative Group, was also guarded in his reaction, although he said they were: “happy to have Glyn.”
Mr Williams had discussed his reasons for moving with Mr FitzPatrick and applied to join the group.
The application had been accepted and his move had also been welcomed by the North Norfolk Conservative Association.
Mr FitzPatrick added: “I wouldn’t like to say anything further at this stage.”
Mr Williams is understood to be on a fishing break and was not available for comment.
An NNDC spokesman confirmed the switch and said the balance on the council now stood at 28 Conservatives, 17 Lib Dems, together with one UKIP (Michael Baker, Holt) and one independent (Peter Terrington, Priory ward) who together form a group, and one unaffiliated independent (Graham Jones).
The political balance on NNDC committees was unaffected and any changes to committee membership and appointments to outside bodies would be made at the council’s annual meeting on May 22.
Mr Williams, who lives in Long Common, Swanton Abbott, was first elected to the council in May 2011. His ward includes Felmingham, Skeyton, Suffield, Swanton Abbott, Westwick and Worstead.
He came to prominence in 2008 as chairman of Cetag - Coltishall Eco-Town Action Group - a campaigning body of 14 parish councils surrounding the former RAF Coltishall base which were opposed to a proposal to turn it into an eco town.