Civil war breaks out among Tories

TORIES running Suffolk have today come under furious attack . . . from members of their own party in Ipswich.The town's Conservative Association launched a withering assault on the decision to appoint new chief executive Andrea Hill at a salary of £220,000 a year.

TORIES running Suffolk have today come under furious attack . . . from members of their own party in Ipswich.

The town's Conservative Association launched a withering assault on the decision to appoint new chief executive Andrea Hill at a salary of £220,000 a year.

Their anger has surfaced as party members found the huge salary had become a major issue in the local elections campaign in the town.

Borough council leader Liz Harsant said today: “As fellow Conservatives, we have been reluctant to criticise Suffolk County Council publicly, and had hoped that our robust lobbying of Jeremy Pembroke and other leading councillors would have prevailed, and the appointment reviewed.

“However, we are shocked and astounded that the County has chosen to drive this appointment through at a time of economic downturn, and against such strong opposition from the public.

“In Ipswich Conservatives' view, there is no justification for this appointment when the Boundary Committee is reviewing unitary options across the County, and there are highly qualified and well respected Directors at the County who could well have taken on this role as an interim measure.

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“The decision to make the appointment is irresponsible and a slap in the face for all local council taxpayers, who can only dream of such high salaries, when many are losing their jobs and suffering rising taxes and household bills.”

Mrs. Harsant added: “Ipswich Conservatives have had no part in this appointment, and have vigorously opposed it from the start.”

Suffolk County Council leader Jeremy Pembroke hit back, claiming that his group had heard nothing from the Ipswich Conservative Association about the appointment of Mrs Hill.

He said: “As residents of Ipswich and Suffolk, people deserve to have the very best leadership at the top of the county council and that is what we are determined to give them.

“You have to have strong leadership from the chief executive to drive through policies which are of benefit to the people of Ipswich.

“Let me give you three recent examples - bringing the university to Ipswich needed strong leadership from the chief executive.

“The chief executive led the response to the Ipswich murders. And the chief executive drove through the deals with BT which have been a great benefit for Ipswich.”

Mr Pembroke said the county council had driven through £55 million of savings in recent years and was looking at introducing a further £16 million of savings.

Are Ipswich Tories right to attack their colleagues at the County Council? Write to: Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk