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Carl Rice to be next Lord Mayor of Birmingham

Carl Rice to be next Lord Mayor of Birmingham

🕔01.Mar 2016

Veteran city councillor Carl Rice will be the next Lord Mayor of Birmingham.

He was nominated for the position at a Labour group meeting last night.

But Rice, who has represented Ladywood for 29 years, will take the mayoralty in May knowing that he was not the first choice for the job.

Cllr Rice lost out by a single vote in January when Labour selected Aston councillor Muhammad Afzal as the next Lord Mayor, but the party was embarrassed when Afzal was forced to pull out after making a speech in which he was highly critical of the Government’s Prevent counter-terror initiative in schools and reportedly suggested the prime minister was Islamaphobic.

Carl Rice has always been popular amongst his colleagues, on all sides of the chamber.

He has a reputation as a serious policy thinker and became a highly effective chair of the main scrutiny committee when Labour regained control of the council in 2012.

He was ahead of the game as far as criticisms contained in the Kerslake Review are concerned.

Cllr Rice regularly warned that backbench councillors were being ignored by the executive and played no real role in decision making – issues that were later highlighted by Lord Kerslake when his council governance study was published in December 2014.

His concerns about the role of backbenchers, the power enjoyed by the cabinet, and an absence of communication between the executive and the Labour group put something of a strain on Rice’s relationship with Labour council leader Sir Albert Bore, a fellow Ladywood councillor.

Cllr Rice also found himself in conflict with Sir Albert after suggesting that the council should consider reverting to the committee system, scrapping the cabinet altogether. The proposal is supported by current council leader John Clancy, who has said he will look at the idea.

Cllr Rice sets out his political beliefs on the council website:

I have been a city councillor for Ladywood since 1987. I stood for election all those years ago because I wanted to bring about changes to the way council services were run. All too often they appear to be based on the needs and wishes of politicians and staff rather than the people we are supposed to serve.

After 28 years on the Council I remain committed to ensuring all services are based on the needs and priorities of the people of Ladywood, whom I have the honour and privilege of representing. For all those who might think that after 28 years as a Councillor I may have lost my commitment and enthusiasm, I would say this – I still get angry at injustice and inequality and still despise waste and inefficiency. And above all I still work hard on behalf of the people of Ladywood and Birmingham.

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