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Colin Noble removed in internal Tory ballot

Noble ousted in county unitary row

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Colin Noble has been ousted as leader of Suffolk CC’s ruling Conservatives (Con).

His successor will be Matthew Hicks, cabinet member for environment, public protection and broadband, following a vote within the Tory group. He is due to be confirmed in the post at full council later this month.

In April, Cllr Noble (pictured) launched a controversial initiative to commission think tank ResPublica to examine options for reorganisation, even though Suffolk Coastal and Waveney DCs and Forest Heath DC and St Edmundsbury BC had already agreed their respective mergers and Babergh and Mid Suffolk DCs were progressing towards one.

Cllr Noble, who has also been the County Councils Network health and social care spokesman, became leader in 2015 on the second occasion at which he challenged previous incumbent Mark Bee (Con).

The two councillors later became embroiled in a dispute over a Tweet issued by Cllr Bee concerning the removal of another cabinet member by Cllr Noble.

Cllr Bee told LGC today: “As the person ousted by Colin Noble I’ve never been his greatest fan, I’ll put that on the table.

“One of the reasons for the group removing him was the horrendous timing of his intervention to ask ResPublica to look at reorganisation.

“East and West Suffolk have agreed mergers but Babergh and Mid Suffolk were in the process and it sent that into meltdown, and that has offended many members of the county group. I’m sure Matthew Hicks will have nothing to do with the ResPublica thing.”

Cllr Noble has been contacted for comment.

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