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Fresh look for Birmingham cabinet as Sir Albert shuffles the pack

Fresh look for Birmingham cabinet as Sir Albert shuffles the pack

🕔03.Jun 2014

A Birmingham City Council cabinet reshuffle turned out to be far more comprehensive than expected as Labour leader Sir Albert Bore sought to enlarge and refresh his top team.

Sir Albert, who recently saw off a challenge to his leadership from backbencher John Clancy, brought two more women into the cabinet and announced a new portfolio for skills, learning and culture, taking the executive to nine members.

The newcomers are Stockland Green councillor Penny Holbrook and Lisa Trickett, from Moseley and Kings Heath. Both were promoted from scrutiny committee chairmanships.

Their appointment will help address concerns about a lack of diversity in the cabinet, although there is still only one member in the executive from Birmingham’s ethnic communities.

Holbrook has been given the new skills, learning and culture portfolio while Trickett becomes cabinet member for a green, safe and smart city and will take responsibility for the roll-out of wheelie bins across the city and implementation of the council’s controversial £35 ‘garden tax’ charge for collecting garden waste.

That means a sideways move for James McKay, who has been at the forefront of the wheelie bins saga. He gives up the green, safe and smart portfolio to take responsibility for social cohesion.

John Cotton, who was cabinet member for social cohesion, gets the health and wellbeing portfolio which was left vacant after Kings Norton councillor Steve Bedser lost his seat at the council elections.

All of the other cabinet members keep their jobs: Brigid Jones (children and family services), Tahir Ali (development, jobs and skills) and Stewart Stacey (commissioning, contracting and improvement). Sir Albert continues as leader and Ian Ward is deputy leader.

The new cabinet appointments by Sir Albert will have been a disappointment to Cllr Peter Griffiths, who gave up his position as chairman of the Northfield district committee to challenge for a cabinet post. He was overlooked.

Others who put themselves forward for cabinet positions and lost out included Ian Cruise (Longbridge), Tony Kennedy (Sparkbrook) and Majid Mahmood (Hodge Hill).

Cllr Cruise, who also failed to be elected as a scrutiny committee chair, could not hide his frustration. Writing on his Facebook account, he said: “After last night’s events I won’t be standing for re-election in 2018. Tired of the bullshit stitch ups and those who are in it for money.”

A threat to the position of Ladywood councillor Carl Rice as chair of the main scrutiny committee failed to materialise after Cllr Ansar Ali Khan withdrew his nomination.

Cllr Ali Khan remains chair of the Hodge Hill district committee.

Cllr Barry Bowles becomes chair of Hall Green district committee.

Cllr Brett O’Reilly becomes chair of Northfield district committee.

Penny Holbrook’s elevation to the cabinet means that Stockland Green councillor Josh Jones becomes chairman of Erdington district committee.

The following councillors were elected scrutiny committee chairs: Waseem Zaffar (Lozells & East Handsworth), Zafar Iqbal (South Yardley), Majid Mohmood (Hodge Hill), Victoria Quinn (Sparkbrook), Mariam Khan (Washwood Heath), Anita Ward (Hodge Hill), Narinder Kooner (Handsworth Wood), Sue Barnett (Billesley). Their portfolios will be announced at the annual council meeting.

Mariam Khan and Narinder Kooner become scrutiny chairs for the first time.

 

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