Tory Borough Councillors elected Bixley councillor John Carnall as their group leader on Friday night, believing him best placed to lead the opposition to Labour’s plans for Ipswich. Outgoing council leader Liz Harsant had announced to Ipswich Conservatives that she didn’t intend to carry on as leader before the election, believing that after six years leading the authority she owed her family more of her time.
Councillor Carnall is a former local authority assistant director and has been the finance portfolio holder for over six years. Considered to be a small state Conservative, he favoured selling Ipswich Buses into the private sector in a radio interview just days before the election, allowing Labour to politicise the bus company in a last ditch drive to get the vote out. That will haunt him at future elections, just as Labour’s plans in 2004 to sell the Corn Exchange haunted them for years.
Liz Harsant will continue as a back bench Conservative councillor, serving out the four years of her term as a Holywells ward councillor.