Suffolk Tories cling to power with majority cut to three

Former Cabinet member Judy Terry who lost her seat
2009 was always going to be a high water mark for Suffolk Tories no matter how they and their friends in Government managed to do. Labour were at an all time low with the leadership of Brown in question and ended up with only four seats in the County.

Government at both county and national level  left much to be desired but it was pretty much assumed that Suffolk Tories would retain control at Endeavour House until the scale of the threat from UKIP became clear. With only one seat in 2009 UKIP have ended up with nine seats but it could have been worse for Suffolk Tories who must look up the A140 in fear to see Norfolk now with no overall control with UKIP the second largest party with 15 seats.

Suffolk Tories now have a majority of three and face a much larger opposition composed of 15 Labour councillors, 9 UKIP, 7 Lib Dems, 3 Independents and 2 Greens.

Leader Mark Bee
Mark Bee is going to have to make changes to his administration with Jane Storey deciding to stay on the back benches and perhaps most spectacularly Judy Terry of library portfolio fame having lost her seat in her Ipswich division.

If he is wise he will take the opportunity to make more changes amongst the cabinet. New faces with more respect across the political spectrum most importantly clearly having the skill and ability to manage their portfolios are a must. Bee needs to look ironically for candidates much more in his own image than most of the people he inherited from Pembroke’s failed administration.

He is bound to stick with new deputy Lisa Chambers who effectively becomes a replacement for the likeable Jane Storey seen as a “safe pair of hands” but amongst the others he could really show his leadership by banishing the likes of McGregor and Noble to the back benches.

The one thing this election says for sure to Suffolk Tories is they can no longer take the County for granted. They are going to have to come up with something much better than Colin Noble’s four year council tax freeze.

With the school reorganisation review still incomplete and clearly losing them votes in some areas it could be education, something they didn’t even mention in their core pledges that causes the most trouble.

Most suffolk schools are small primaries still under County control all of which are about to see their funding quite literally fall off a cliff in 2015. The County Council could show real leadership and work with its schools and support them but this could well mean conflict with the Tory led Wesminster government.

If the Council doesn’t and it is seen as part of the problem in Suffolk and not the solution 2015 could see a mass campaign to save rural primary schools that makes the 2011 library campaign look like a picnic. If Suffolk Tories find themselves on the wrong side of that this could be the last time they are in power in Ipswich for a while.
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