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Cancer diagnosis forces Norfolk council leader to stand down

Cliff Jordan Credit: ITV News Anglia.

Norfolk County Council's leader has announced he is standing down with immediate effect - because he has lung cancer.

Cliff Jordan said he had received the diagnosis yesterday (Thursday May 18) following months of health issues.

"Over the past few months I’m sure you are aware that I have been suffering from health issues. To that end I have been undergoing tests to determine the cause of this.

"Yesterday, I received the devastating news that I have been diagnosed with lung cancer. Following this I have come to a decision that I will be stepping down from my role as leader of Norfolk County Council and as a county councillor to concentrate on my treatment and recovery."

– Cliff Jordan, Norfolk County Council leader
Cliff Jordan Credit: ITV News Anglia.

He thanked his colleagues for their "dedication, support and friendship over my time serving in local government" and said he was stepping down "safe in the knowledge that we have charted the right course and I know that you will continue to share my vision for doing what’s best for the people of Norfolk".

Mr Jordan has been a councillor in Norfolk since 1991 and was elected on to the county council in 2001. He has been leader of the Conservative group since March 2015 and leader of the authority since May 2016.

He has had to oversee £125m of savings from the council budget.

Mr Jordan's fellow Tory councillor deputy leader Alison Thomas will take over in the short term. A council meeting is due to take place to elect his successor.

Mrs Thomas said Mr Jordan had become one of her closest friends during her three years as his deputy.

“Keeping him in order has been one of my greatest challenges - most especially, persuading him to wear a tie on appropriate occasions!

"Cliff has cared so much for the county, now it is time for the county to care for him.

“I will miss working with him and the humour he brought to our every-day deliberations, but will do my utmost to ensure his vision and aspirations for the county are delivered."

– Alison Thomas, Norfolk County Council deputy leader