Ian Fisher elected to lead opposition Conservative group at Ipswich Council
PUBLISHED: 15:40 18 July 2017 | UPDATED: 15:40 18 July 2017
Castle Hill councillor Ian Fisher has been elected as the new Conservative group leader at Ipswich council following the resignation of Nadia Cenci in the wake of the row over her tweets about Grenfell Tower.
Mr Fisher has been a councillor for less than two years, he was elected to the authority in 2016, but he was elected unanimously by his group at their meeting on Monday night.
He now takes the lead in a group of 13 Tory councillors on the 48-strong authority and admits it could be some time before his group is challenging to take control at the borough.
Because a third of the authority is elected each year, it could take several years for his party to build up their strength on the authority – even if the party were to be doing well nationally.
But he was prepared to build the party’s support from election to election – the Conservatives ran the borough in coalition with the Liberal Democrats between 2004 and 2011.
Mr Fisher is a recruitment consultant based in Felixstowe, and said his job gives him a good early insight into how the economy is performing and how optimistic or pessimistic people are about the state of the country.
He said: “I don’t see there being a great change in the way we operate on the borough in the short term but I do want us to question and scrutinise what the Labour council is doing at every turn.
“I am relatively new to the council although I have been involved in politics for many years. I had always thought I would like the chance to lead a group on the council, but that opportunity has probably come a bit sooner than I had expected!”
He said his work means that he is able to see whether businesses are having difficulty in recruiting people or if people are struggling to find work before changes emerge in the economy as a whole.
Although Mr Fisher is a relative newcomer to the borough, he was proposed and seconded by two of the most experienced Conservatives on the authority – former council leader Liz Harsant and fellow Castle Hill councillor Robin Vickery.
His first real challenge as group leader will come at the next full meeting of the borough council on Wednesday next week when his group will face the Labour administration led by David Ellesmere for the first time under its new leadership.