James McKay quits cabinet and says Sir Albert Bore is no longer right person to lead Birmingham
James McKay has quit the city cabinet saying that he no longer has faith in Birmingham council leader Sir Albert Bore.
In a blunt letter to Sir Albert, Cllr McKay made it clear that he did not think the council was delivering the culture change required by the Kerslake Review, in particular working in partnership with other organisations.
The letter, which will shatter the uneasy peace between Labour councillors and Sir Albert, suggests that the council still does not have a “simple, convincing political vision” that can “inspire citizens, get partners around the table, and be a clear map for how the Council itself needs to move forward”.
McKay adds: “Partners want to work with us, but they need to know we want to work with them, too. We cannot do this without them, but we can’t fake it, either. We need to look them in the eye, and show we mean what we say.”
And addressing Sir Albert directly, he says: “Your contribution to Birmingham has been enormous, and the city will always be in your debt. However, I no longer believe we can make the changes Birmingham needs under your leadership.
“You have a right to expect unity from your cabinet members, and as such I am stepping down from my role as cabinet member for Inclusion and Community Safety, with immediate effect.”
The timing of the letter could hardly be more difficult for the council leader.
The Birmingham Independent Improvement Panel imposed by the Government to drive forward the Kerslake reforms is due to report on progress to Local Government Secretary Greg Clark.
Cllr McKay attended a two hour Labour group meeting at the Council House last night where cabinet members each gave a presentation on the Future Council programme.
The resignation letter came the following morning.
The letter in full:
To meet the challenges facing the Council, and the city, we need a simple, convincing political vision, one that can inspire citizens, get partners around the table, and be a clear map for how the Council itself needs to move forward.
This can’t be done by a Leader or Cabinet Members alone, despite the huge talent and dedication on offer. We’ve got to shift how we do things, starting with how the Executive works with the Labour Group, and the wider Council. If we shut ourselves away, the city will change around us, regardless. We have a duty to be part of that change. We’ve got to throw open the doors, permanently.
A simple, convincing vision will unlock the enthusiasm of partners across the city, who right now are ready to step up, but want leadership from the politicians. Partners want to work with us, but they need to know we want to work with them, too. We cannot do this without them, but we can’t fake it, either. We need to look them in the eye, and show we mean what we say.
With this vision in place, we can all get on with our jobs – working with citizens to help us all move forward. Birmingham is already a wonderful place to live and work. The city also has brilliant opportunities ahead. We need to grab them with both hands.
This process can only be led by Labour – the only party in Birmingham willing and able to face up to the challenge. It can also only be led by Birmingham. Further government intervention could never deliver the change the city needs, because it won’t be rooted in the city it seeks to change.
Your contribution to Birmingham has been enormous, and the city will always be in your debt. However, I no longer believe we can make the changes Birmingham needs under your leadership. You have a right to expect unity from your Cabinet Members, and as such I am stepping down from my role as Cabinet Member for Inclusion and Community Safety, with immediate effect
Cllr James McKay
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