South Norfolk councillor launches leadership bid – and wants to overthrow ‘Marmite personality’ John Fuller

South Norfolk councillor Clayton Hudson
South Norfolk councillor Clayton Hudson

A South Norfolk district councillor has pledged to overthrow the authority’s leader in order to ensure the district “does not become a poorer place” with some big projects on the horizon.

Clayton Hudson (pictured), councillor for Beck Vale, took to Twitter to announce his intentions – telling current incumbent John Fuller to enjoy this week’s Conservative Party Conference ... as he intended to make it has last as the leader of South Norfolk Council.

The Pulham St Mary resident was brought into Mr Fuller’s cabinet in 2016 – but claims he was effectively removed in May when he was offered alternative positions, which he turned down.

He says the leadership challenge is not personal – but fears South Norfolk will be a poorer place if big projects, such as the Long Stratton bypass and up to 1,800 new homes,are not delivered – and said he has lost faith in the council’s leader, who he described as a “Marmite personality”.

The leader of South Norfolk Council will be chosen at the annual meeting of the Conservative Group in April.

“Like Mrs Thatcher, your strong leadership model is becoming increasingly authoritarian and my dismissal looks to many like removing someone who was (and will continue) to challenge you (and on occasion disagree with you in private) and replaced with people who don’t dare to oppose you,” he said.

John Fuller

John Fuller

“Rest assured, I will continue to focus on my ward responsibilities, however, like many other members of the group and the wider Conservative family, I believe your time as leader of South Norfolk Council is coming to an end.”

In an email exchange seen by the Diss Express, fellow councillor Michael Edney complained to the Conservative Group about tweets from Mr Hudson in regard to car parking figures for Harleston.

In the email, Mr Edney accused him of “undermining” the group position.

Mr Hudson told the Diss Express: “For me personally, I want to move forward the Conservative agenda here in South Norfolk.

Rest assured, I will continue to focus on my ward responsibilities, however, like many other members of the group and the wider Conservative family, I believe your time as leader of South Norfolk Council is coming to an end

Clayton Hudson

“I see a number of projects locally that need to be carefully led.

“The Long Stratton bypass is something we have been waiting on for 100 years.

“One of the big things is I want to make sure that I can negotiate and make that happen, so Long Stratton gets the bypass. I put that at the top of my agenda.”

Mr Hudson has been reported for a disciplinary matter within the Conservative Group, he revealed on Twitter.

Mr Hudson has publicly opposed the district council’s stance on car parks in Harleston on a number of occasions (see page 5).

“On Harleston, I won’t be a yes man when it comes to parking,” he said. “I will continue to be outspoken and try to get the best deal for the residents I represent.”

Mr Fuller was unavailable for comment.