Three Tories defied party whips

THREE Tories took a stand against the decision to pay Suffolk's new chief executive up to £220,000 a year.Andrea Hill was controversially appointed to the top job following a hostile debate and narrow vote among members of Suffolk County Council.

THESE are the three Tories who took a stand against the decision to pay Suffolk's new chief executive up to £220,000 a year.

Andrea Hill was controversially appointed to the top job following a hostile debate and narrow vote among members of Suffolk County Council.

Details of the vote, which the administration won by 37 votes to 31, with one abstention, have been released and show that three Conservative councillors refused to tow the party line.

Russell Harsant, representing Bixley, as well as Selwyn Pryor, representing Stour Valley, both voted against the appointment while Karen Knight, representing Haverhill East and Kedington, abstained.

Mr Harsant told The Evening Star he had voted against the terms of the appointment rather than 44-year-old Andrea Hill as a person.

He said he felt a temporary appointment could have been made to guide the authority until its future becomes clear and added that the size of the salary package had sparked concern among the people of Suffolk.

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“I thought it could have been possible to have sustained the council up until December 31, when the Boundary Committee announces its proposals and we know what the future of Suffolk County Council will be.

“We have some very good officers and directors and I am quite sure could have carried us through to that position.

“The total financial obligation of the appointment is also not clear.

“The figures talked about are not compatible with other authorities of a similar size.”

The two other Conservatives voting against the move, Selwyn Pryor and Karen Knight, were unavailable for comment.

Leader of the council, Jeremy Pembroke, said: “Two voted against and one abstained but the reason is for them to answer, not me on their behalf.”

Mr Pembroke stressed the importance of the appointment to ensure “more services are delivered to more people”.

“That is what the people of Ipswich and the people of Suffolk deserve.”

Details of the vote show that the remaining 36 Tories present at the meeting all voted for the appointment.

They were joined by independent councillor Ben Redsell, representing Woodbridge, who resigned from the Conservative group last year.

All Labour and Liberal Democrat councillors voted against the appointment and were supported by two independent councillors, David Thomas and Paul Hopfensberger, himself a former Conservative group member.

Will the appointment of Andrea Hill affect how you vote in the future? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk