Norwich-based County Councillor in Walkout Protest

September 27, 2006 12:00 AM
Barbara Hacker

Cllr Barbara Hacker led protest against possible Tory 'cover-up'

Councillor Barbara Hacker, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group on Norfolk County Council, joined fellow Councillors in walking out of a meeting to protest against a decision by the Conservative administration to block an inquiry it had already agreed to undertake.

Two months ago, Councillors from all parties agreed to undertake an inquiry into the future use of 18,000 acres of council-owned farmland in Norfolk. On Wednesday, Conservative Councillors announced without warning that they had changed their minds and didn't want an investigation at all.

Conservative Councillors claimed this was because the policy on farms had been reviewed as 'recently' as five years ago. They used their majority on an important Council Review Panel to overturn the previous decision, which was originally proposed by one of their own Councillors.

Councillor Hacker, who represents the Thorpe Hamlet area of Norwich at County level, was joined in the protest by North Norfolk-based Lib Dem County Councillor, Paul Morse. Members of the Labour Group also walked out.

A spokesman for Norwich Liberal Democrats said: 'The future of these farms affects every Norfolk taxpayer, even if they live in the city. It is not clear whether the Conservative administration is trying to hide anything by avoiding this inquiry, or whether they are simply incompetent.'