Bore-Ward showdown delayed – Sir Albert is still in Brussels
The much-anticipated showdown between Sir Albert Bore and Ian Ward is yet to take place, Chamberlain Files can reveal.
Sir Albert, the leader of Birmingham city council, is still in Brussels where he has been attending a meeting of the European Committee of the Regions.
His spokeswoman said he was not due to return to Birmingham until later today.
Sir Albert is a longstanding member of the committee and the meeting was planned many months in advance, the spokeswoman added.
She said that Sir Albert and Cllr Ward have been speaking on the phone over the past week to discuss the resignation of cabinet member James McKay and Labour group secretary Valerie Seabright.
It was likely that the two would see each other soon “as they are in office together” to discuss council matters.
Both Cllr McKay and Cllr Seabright called on Sir Albert to resign as leader of the Labour group and the city council.
Sir Albert has regularly been discussing matters with cabinet colleagues and keeping them informed, the spokeswoman insisted.
Cllr Ward returned to Birmingham from Crete yesterday, where he had been on holiday.
Cllr Ward admitted he had been watching events unfold in Birmingham “with great concern” and said he would make a statement upon his return. He is yet to do so and has not been returning calls.
The continuing uncertainty about the future relationship between Cllr Ward and Sir Albert will add fuel to the disarray in the council Labour group, where rumours persist of further resignations at cabinet and scrutiny chair level.
Claims by Cllr McKay that Sir Albert has failed to deliver a clear and concise vision for the future of Birmingham and the council, and is not implementing culture change demanded by the Kerslake Review, have been given fresh legs by former Labour councillor Hugh McCallion, who served as deputy council leader under Sir Albert.
Writing on the Re Stirred website, Mr McCallion said:
One of the smoke and mirrors aspects of Sir Albert’s style is to produce, or have produced, a series of documents that are long on flowery language yet far from clear on deliverable policies.
After four years stewardship, I was finding that officers at all levels and in all departments seemed to be totally confused about who was responsible for what and to whom. The members, including cabinet members, were also unsure but of course Sir Albert had prepared the system with a view to becoming elected mayor so he is in that office in all but name.
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