Norfolk council leader could be ousted over MP tirade

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Cliff JordanImage copyright Norfolk County Council
Image caption County council leader Cliff Jordan has responded to the fallout from an interview he gave, when he said Norfolk’s MPs needed to “earn their corn”

A Conservative council leader said he had a “30% chance” of remaining in his post after launching into a tirade of criticism against Norfolk’s MPs.

Cliff Jordan, of Norfolk County Council, told BBC Radio Norfolk on Thursday he was “hacked-off” with some MPs “talking the county down“.

Following the fallout over his attack, Mr Jordan said he felt the MPs had “had their feathers ruffled”.

The county has seven Conservative MPs, one Labour and one Liberal Democrat.

On Friday he told the radio station he stood by his comments.

Although he had “a lot of phone calls” of support, he said he had not been contacted by any of the MPs or Conservative Party leaders.

Mr Jordan said he knew his future as leader was uncertain and he understood some district council leaders had met privately on Thursday.

He said he was aware of suggestions a letter calling for his departure was being circulated among political figures.

Asked if he thought he would be able to remain in the job, he said he felt he had a “30% chance”.

Image copyright BBC/Conservative Party/Reuters/GettyImages
Image caption Many MPs were criticised by Mr Jordan during a live radio interview about the possibility of a unitary authority in Norfolk

“If they don’t want me here, I’ll go. I’ll go tomorrow. My wife would be delighted,” he said.

“I’ve got to deliver the services for the safety of the people of Norfolk. I’ve asked them [MPs] to help and they haven’t.

“All I’ve done is point out my frustrations – there’s a huge job to do in Norfolk.”

Mr Jordan sparked controversy on Thursday, when he said there were county MPs he had never or rarely met, including Conservative party chairman and Great Yarmouth MP Brandon Lewis.

“Our MPs cost us a lot of money and they need to earn their corn,” he said.

‘Most irritating’

A number of the county’s MPs have already rejected to Mr Jordan’s claims and insisted they worked with the county council.

Liberal Democrat MP former health minister Mr Lamb (North Norfolk) – described by Mr Jordan as a politician who “criticises incessantly” – stressed his record of cross-party working.

He said: “What is most irritating with this man… is that he apparently doesn’t show interest in things that really matter.”

He also said he had never been invited by Mr Jordan to any meetings.

“A little less of slagging people off and a little more collegiate working would do Norfolk well,” said Mr Lamb.

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