New leader for Mid Suffolk Council opposition group
- Credit: Jason Noble LDRS
The opposition group at a politically-deadlocked Suffolk council has a new leader.
Rachel Eburne, leader of Mid Suffolk District Council's opposition Green and Liberal Democrat group, has opted to step back from leading in order to spend more time with her family, but will remain a councillor.
The group, comprising 12 Greens and five Liberal Democrats, have selected Bacton ward councillor Andy Mellen as the new group leader, while experienced Liberal Democrat John Field remains as deputy leader.
The role is a key position in holding to account the administration in Mid Suffolk, as the authority is numerically split - the 16 Conservatives and one Independent united to form an administration after the 2019 elections.
It means the casting vote belonging to the chairman, currently Conservative, is crucial for decision making.
“I am very grateful to my councillor colleagues for choosing me as their new leader," Mr Mellen said.
"I would like to pay tribute to councillor Rachel Eburne who has led the group to great success over the past four years, including the stunning result of getting twelve councillors elected on to Mid-Suffolk District Council in May 2019. Her energy, enthusiasm, and attention to detail in leading our opposition group provide an amazing example for the future.
"As our country carefully emerges from the Covid pandemic, we still face the looming challenges of climate change, biodiversity loss and the need to build a sound future for everyone in Mid-Suffolk and beyond.
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"Greens don’t claim to have all the answers to these massive problems, but we can help set the direction towards a vibrant, sustainable and successful society in the future.
"As the Green and Liberal Democrat group represent half of Mid-Suffolk District Council, under my leadership we will continue to provide constructive challenge to the Conservative administration.”
Mr Field added: "Liberal Democrats and Greens are working well together across much of the county, and in Mid Suffolk we look forward to working with Andy Mellen.
"We would like to work on a wider basis and It is disappointing and hard to understand why the Conservatives are unwilling to work collaboratively with our half of the council but without losing our distinct priorities. Meanwhile, we will continue in partnership probing their plans in a constructive way and holding their administration to account.”