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Former Babergh deputy leader declines to run for vacant leadership role

Simon Barrett, Sudbury district councillor.
Simon Barrett, Sudbury district councillor.

A Sudbury councillor, who failed in a Babergh District Council leadership challenge back in May, says he will not be throwing his hat in the ring to replace the outgoing leader.

Simon Barrett, who represents the Sudbury South ward, is sitting as an independent councillor after he was suspended by the Babergh Conservative Group early this month for allegedly leaking revealing statements at a private meeting, which he denies.

Mr Barrett, a former Babergh deputy leader, said he had no desire to replace Jennie Jenkins as council leader, following her resignation last week, as he was “not very popular with the Conservative group”.

“I think if I put my name forward, I would have a chance with the other groups, but I’m quite happy to stand behind,” he said.

Mr Barrett said he would like to see South Cosford Conservative ward councillor Alan Ferguson elected as the new leader at the next full council meeting on January 4.

“Alan is a very capable guy,” said Mr Barrett.

“He has a good chance and will probably gain the right support, but the trouble is the Conservative group needs to re-evaluate.

“It’s a bit like an alcoholic – it needs to go to an AA meeting. It needs to reset the button.”

Mr Barrett, who resigned as deputy council leader in May after a failed leadership challenge to remove Mrs Jenkins, admitted he was not surprised at her decision to relinquish the role.

“It wasn’t surprising,” he said. “There was a motion to remove her so, if she hadn’t stood down, she would have been removed. She went before she was pushed.”

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