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Councillor sacked from top job

PUBLISHED: 16:48 28 February 2002 | UPDATED: 11:27 03 March 2010

LABOUR councillors at County Hall are on the verge of civil war after Suffolk's former Euro-MP was sacked from the county council executive.

Members of the Labour group, which runs the county alongside the Liberal Democrats, were shocked when new leader Jane Hore axed David Thomas immediately after the authority's budget debate on Tuesday.

LABOUR councillors at County Hall are on the verge of civil war after Suffolk's former Euro-MP was sacked from the county council executive.

Members of the Labour group, which runs the county alongside the Liberal Democrats, were shocked when new leader Jane Hore axed David Thomas immediately after the authority's budget debate on Tuesday.

One councillor accused her of being an "unbridled dictator" while another said she had been cowardly in sacking Mr Thomas without discussing the matter with the whole group first.

Mr Thomas said today that he was disappointed to have been removed from the executive, but would continue as a backbench county councillor.

The sacking shocked backbenchers at the council – they knew nothing about Ms Hore's decision until after the budget debate, even though they had held a group meeting before it.

The Star understands that Mr Thomas was also unaware of the impending axe before it fell.

"The way this was all done was very cowardly," one Labour source said today.

"The group had no prior knowledge of the decision, there was no consultation at all – it was just presented to us as a fait accompli. There was nothing anyone could do about it."

Mr Thomas had been executive member responsible for economic development.

Deputy leader Bryony Rudkin has taken over that role – and former executive member Tony Lewis has returned to take over her education job.

Ms Hore said today that the changes had been part of the general evolution of the executive.

"David remains a valued member of the Labour Group. It is up to him what he does next," she said.

Mrs Rudkin was concerned to hear that some backbenchers were unhappy.

"We acted within the constitution, but we will be happy to discuss their concerns with them," she said.

Conservative opposition leader Sue Sida-Lockett was aware of the pressures within the ruling group.

"This really is no way to run a body that is so important – we have serious concerns about the lack of democracy in the ruling group," she said.

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