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Labour leader announces step-down

PUBLISHED: 16:19 31 January 2008 | UPDATED: 14:01 21 May 2010

THE leader of the opposition group on Waveney District Council has announced her intention to step down as a councillor at the May local elections - and launched a blistering attack on the authority in the process.

THE leader of the opposition group on Waveney District Council has announced her intention to step down as a councillor at the May local elections - and launched a blistering attack on the authority in the process.

Sally Spore, an arch critic of the way the council is run, revealed she made the shock decision to go after deciding she had achieved her objectives within the corridors of power.

Labour group leader Mrs Spore accused the Tory-run authority of being undemocratic in some of its actions and of failing to take on board opposition views while striving to battle back from a series of poor ratings from Audit Commission investigators.

Later, council leader Mark Bee, of Beccles, hit back at Mrs Spore, insisting his opponent had failed to work constructively to help improve the authority's position.

The war of words came at the end of a turbulent few weeks for the council, which saw chief executive Glen Garrod leave his post after admitting he did not have the skills to turn its fortunes around. His departure came shortly after the appointment of a specialist external taskforce to improve performance.

Mrs Spore, who represents the Whitton ward in Lowestoft, said: “My objective has been to make sure the public and the relevant authorities know what is happening. I feel that my job has been done and that it is now up to these authorities to take the required action to move the council forward.

“My personal experience of the council is that it has been less than honest with the public and its own elected members. The administration cannot acknowledge any view other than its own, which is what democracy is about.”

Respected St Edmundsbury council chief executive Deborah Cadman has taken over from Mr Garrod on a temporary basis, but Mrs Spore said she believed it would be difficult to make improvements while the Conservative group held such a strong majority.

Mrs Spore will continue as Labour leader until May and will also remain mayor of Lowestoft.

Mr Bee said: “Sally has not had a positive relationship with the council. It has been a desire of mine to work constructively with her, but she has always wanted to play politics rather than working for what is best for the council.

“I would not accept the accusation that we have not been open. There has always been the opportunity for opposition councillors to have their say through the scrutiny process and Sally has played a leading role in that. It is a shame that we will now have a lame duck Labour leader.”

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