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Birmingham’s next Lord Mayor to ‘abseil down BT Tower’

Birmingham’s next Lord Mayor to ‘abseil down BT Tower’

🕔23.Jan 2013


leddyBirmingham’s next Lord Mayor, a 63-year-old former car worker, wants to abseil down the BT Tower and parachute jump for charity during his year in office.

Mike Leddy could prove to be something of an unexpected action man when becomes first citizen.

Cllr Leddy told Chamberlain Files: “I will do anything and everything to help people.

“Of course I want to raise lots of money for the Lord Mayor’s charities, but I will also be out there doing what I can to help others in their fund raising efforts.

“If they want the Lord Mayor to abseil down the BT Tower then I will go and do it. And I’ve always wanted to do a parachute jump.

“One of the things I am very positive about is that you can take 100 per cent from society but you give back 110 per cent. That’s the way I’ve always lived my life.”

Cllr Leddy has been nominated for the mayoralty by the council Labour group and will take over from John Lines in May.

A former shop steward with a reputation for straight talking, Cllr Leddy said he couldn’t help feeling slightly apprehensive about the job ahead.

“You put yourself up for these things, but then later on you think ‘am I going to do a good job?’

“It’s a tremendous honour to be Lord Mayor and I just hope I don’t let anyone down.”

Born in a back to back house in Lozells, Cllr Leddy has always been an outspoken champion for Birmingham. He will use his year as mayor to promote the city’s manufacturing industry.

He made the news last year after complaining that an automated city council answering service didn’t understand his broad Brummie accent.

Cllr Leddy’s outburst was reported across the world and he was even interviewed by a radio station in Moscow, when he took ICT suppliers Service Birmingham to task over voice recognition equipment.

His year as first citizen, which is a non-political post, should come as some relief to Service Birmingham since Cllr Leddy has been a persistent critic of the Capita-led company which has contracts worth £1 billion with the city council.

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Scrutiny committees have been regularly enlivened by his colourful accounts of the centre’s apparent failure to organise simple tasks, such as picking up bulky refuse and dealing with requests for housing repairs. However, further inquiries often revealed that the council’s own housing department or street services unit were equally to blame for the inefficiency.

In November last year Cllr Leddy said he spent half an hour grappling with the call centre’s automated voice recognition software before giving up and “contacting a human being”.

“I am a proud Brummie and most people can understand me when I am talking to them,” he told the Birmingham Mail.

Cllr Leddy was in hot water after it emerged the telephone system was nothing to do with Capita.

A council spokesman confirmed that a postcode voice recognition system had been withdrawn following “teething problems”, but the system was installed and run by the council rather than Service Birmingham.

Cllr Leddy has been the Labour group chief whip since May last year when the party took control of the city council. His elevation to the mayoralty presents council leader Sir Albert Bore with an obvious problem – where to find someone as effective in installing discipline among the 77-strong group of councillors.

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