Councillor quits in leadership tussle

Simon Barrett.
Simon Barrett.
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Sudbury businessman Simon Barrett has resigned from his position as deputy leader of Babergh District Council after a failed leadership challenge.

Mr Barrett, also a Sudbury town councillor, failed to win enough support in attempting to oust Jennie Jenkins as the leader of Babergh District Council.

Mr Barrett immediately resigned from his roles as deputy leader, vice-chairman of the strategy committee and portfolio holder for growth and productivity. He will continue as a district councillor.

“I challenged her to the leadership because we’ve got a two-year window to the next election,” explained Mr Barrett, who made the move at the Conservative Group’s recent annual meeting.

“It was nothing untoward, just part of the normal process.

“I think Sudbury would have benefitted but I didn’t get enough support from other members.

“She [Mrs Jenkins] had said to me that she would stand for another year and then invite me to take over.

“But for me, taking over with one year left [before the elections] would mean not having enough time to come in and get the things done I would want to. We need some succession planning.

“It’s not a criticism of Jenny, she has been a very good leader, but I just find myself differing with the style of leadership.”

Until 2015, Babergh had never been run by a party with an overall majority.

Mr Barrett also criticised the lack of communication within the council.

“I will focus on Sudbury now,” he added. “It’s one of the reasons why I chose to resign.

“The support didn’t come from certain Conservative members.

“They felt they couldn’t support me going forward.”

It is believed Jan Osborne will named as the deputy leader.

“It’s a little disappointing as we [with David Holland] had put our agenda forward as we thought it was a good opportunity.”

Mr Barrett said he would now focus on his Sudbury South ward, which he described as one of the most exciting due to it central location.

“There is lots happening so we will continue working hard,” he said. “I will continue to play my part.”

The Free Press was unable to contact Mrs Jenkins.