Tory Suffolk County Councillor Alan Murray resigns for personal reasons
PUBLISHED: 09:00 21 March 2016 | UPDATED: 10:37 21 March 2016
Former cabinet member Dr Alan Murray has resigned from Suffolk County Council for personal reasons – meaning that formally the Conservatives no longer have a majority on the authority.
Dr Murray, a retired surgeon, resigned on Friday – a day after attending a full meeting of the council and voting in the controversial debate on the future of Suffolk’s fire service which the administration won by just one vote.
There will now be a by-election in Ipswich’s Bixley division on May 5, the same day that voters in the town go to the polls for borough and Police and Crime Commissioner elections.
Dr Murray, the only Conservative county councillor in Ipswich, has been chairman of the county’s health and wellbeing board since stepping down from the cabinet early last year.
He could not be contacted to discuss his resignation, but council leader Colin Noble paid tribute to his work for the authority.
Mr Noble said: “From my point of view he has been a really great councillor and he brought his vast experience to the role of cabinet member for adult care and more recently as chairman of the health and wellbeing board.”
The board was recognised as one of the best in the country, and Mr Noble said it had only recently been given a national accolade by health professionals.
“Alan has done a great deal for the people of Suffolk and he can look back on his time at the county with great satisfaction,” he added.
Dr Murray’s resignation means there will now be two county council by-elections on May 5. There will also be an election in Haverhill to replace Tim Marks who died suddenly at the start of the year.
The resignation means that the Conservatives now have only 36 seats on 75-seat authority, however if they hold both seats they are defending their strength will go back up to 38 – a single-seat majority.
However one of the Independent councillors is former Conservative Brian Riley who left the group when he emigrated to the US.
When he does return for occasional council meetings he usually votes with his former colleagues.