Can Suffolk get a devolution deal from the government before time runs out as we approach an autumn general election?

And if it does go ahead would the new system of a directly-elected leader be a recipe for conflict and a stalemate between councillors and the authority's leadership?

Suffolk has launched a consultation document on the proposed devolution settlement giving the county's population until the end of May to have a say.

Once those responses have been received, they will be discussed by the council in July and if they agree they will be sent to the Department for Levelling Up to be formally approved.

But with a general election expected to be called in October or November, that makes it very tight for the plan to be approved - even though the orders for the change have been drawn up.

There are also questions about the relationship between an elected leader and councillors if the majority of councillors are from a party in opposition to the leader.

Between 1993 and 2005 Suffolk was run by a Labour/Liberal Democrat coalition but at every election the Conservatives were the largest single party with 37-41% of the vote.

How would the authority have fared if it had had a Tory leader and cabinet but a full council with a majority of members opposed to its policies? Would that be a recipe for political deadlock?

Current council leader Matthew Hicks has welcomed the deal and urged people to take part in the consultation, saying it would empower the county in the future.

East Anglian Daily Times: Current Suffolk County Council leader Matthew HicksCurrent Suffolk County Council leader Matthew Hicks (Image: Suffolk County Council)

However opposition leader and Green councillor Andrew Stringer said: "Let’s be honest this is not a big deal, but it is a deal that offers a small amount of devolution."

The Labour Party has been in favour of directly-elected mayors in some parts of the country - but local members are sceptical about the value of introducing a directly-elected leader on to the top of an existing authority like Suffolk County Council.