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Clancy resigns – ‘I made some mistakes’

Clancy resigns – ‘I made some mistakes’

🕔11.Sep 2017

John Clancy, Labour leader of Birmingham city council, has resigned as leader of the group and council with immediate effect. 

He cited “frenzied media speculation” and said he could see “no end to such speculation” while he remained as leader.

Cllr Clancy has admitted making some mistakes, saying: “for which I am sorry and take full responsibility.”

On his blog, he wrote:

It has become clear to me that frenzied media speculation about the Birmingham waste dispute is beginning to harm Birmingham City Council and the Birmingham Labour Party. I can see no end to such speculation, as ill-informed as much of it is, for as long as I remain Leader.

I have therefore decided to resign both as Leader of the Labour group and as the Leader of Birmingham City Council with immediate effect.

I would wish to stress that the actions I took along with my cabinet to negotiate an end to an extremely complex and difficult industrial dispute were done with the best of intentions. None of us are perfect, and I made some mistakes, for which I am sorry and take full responsibility.

I am honoured to have been Leader of the council since December 2015 and proud of the many achievements during my time in charge. These include issuing the first £45 million ‘Brummie Bond’ for local housing, and two other initiatives that generated substantial savings for the council – renegotiating the ICT joint venture agreement with Capita, and reaching agreement to reduce the council’s annual payments to the West Midlands Local Government Pension Fund.

Events in my personal life during this year have convinced me that there are issues of far more importance than Birmingham City Council, and although this has been said by politicians many times before, on this occasion I really am looking forward to spending more time with my family.

READ: Clancy – questions of conduct

The Conservative group has welcomed the resignation of the Labour leader.

Cllr Robert Alden, leader of the group, said:

While the acceptance finally from the Leader of the Council that it is untenable for him to continue in post, is welcome, the reality is this decision should have been made long before the 74th day of the crisis. Residents of Birmingham have had to endure a summer of rubbish piled up on the streets and the associated health and pest risks that this brought. This crisis could of and should have been avoided and sadly the Labour Leaders actions only worsened the situation. It is sad it had to come to this but Birmingham residents deserve better than the Leadership they have had from Labour this summer.

Cllr Alden (Erdington) added:

It is saddening from the Leader’s statement that this decision was only taken once he realised it was effecting the Labour Party as well as residents. While it is also clear that the Cabinet have questions to answer about their role in the disaster as well. It is therefore vital that the Council, the Deputy Leader and the Cabinet get on with sorting out the bin crisis, clear the street of refuse and bring back weekly refuse collections to the City immediately. Anything short of that would be Labour letting down Birmingham residents yet again.

Cllr Jon Hunt, leader of the Liberal Democrat group said:

John Clancy’s position as leader of the City Council had become untenable and he has finally done the right thing and stepped down.

However he should not be made to carry the whole can for the collectively weak and secretive leadership shown by the city cabinet during this protracted and unpleasant bin dispute.

It is apparent that a number of cabinet members supported him in his actions. We need to know who they are.

It is also notable that three times the cabinet has met, formally, during the bin dispute and three times failed to discuss, in public or in private, its approach to the dispute. Cabinet met the day before John Clancy’s meeting with Unite at Acas and failed to consider  what approach should be adopted. It appears that instead there has been a series of secret meetings and discussions.

Indeed we now have a position where the national Labour politicians are interfering  – with the shadow Chancellor apparently taking the side of the striking crews.

It will be the Labour councillors not the people of Birmingham who elect the next leader. The best they can do is choose someone who takes a clear and open approach to tackling this problem – and to do so as soon as possible. The residents will have to wait until next May to make their choice.

Other reaction from politicians is still coming in….

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