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Sir Albert Bore faces ‘vote of confidence’ as Barry Henley announces joint ticket leadership bid with John Clancy

Sir Albert Bore faces ‘vote of confidence’ as Barry Henley announces joint ticket leadership bid with John Clancy

🕔25.Apr 2014

Brandwood councillor Barry Henley is to challenge Ian Ward for the deputy leadership of Birmingham city council and will run on a joint ticket with John Clancy, who has already announced his intention to topple Sir Albert Bore as council leader.

In what amounts to a vote of confidence in the Bore-Ward team, Clancy and Henley aim to persuade a majority of Labour councillors that “too many mistakes” are being made by the city’s leadership and that a fresh approach is required.

Their campaign is likely to focus on several embarrassing issues including the Trojan Horse ‘Islam plot’ in city schools, the continuing inadequacy of children’s social services, the financial strain caused by the Capita-Service Birmingham IT contract, and plans for the decommissioning of services following cuts to government grant.

Cllr Clancy has indicated that if elected leader he will move to scrap the cabinet and reintroduce committees along the lines of the pre-2001 system of governance. He could also decide to have more than one deputy council leader in an effort to improve communications between backbench Labour councillors and committee chairmen and vice-chairmen.

Sir Albert Bore and Ian Ward will discover their fate at the annual meeting of Labour councillors on May 31, when annual elections for leader and deputy leader take place.

A year ago, Cllr Clancy challenged Sir Albert for the Labour group leadership, and leadership of the council. He managed 23 votes to 51 for Sir Albert. Sources close to the Clancy camp say they expect opposition to Sir Albert to rise to at least 30 votes this year, which would not be enough to ensure victory for Clancy but would lay the conditions for a ‘lame duck leader’ for 2014-15.

In order to win outright Cllr Clancy and Cllr Henley each requires 39 votes or more, assuming that every Labour councillor attends the annual meeting and votes.

There was no challenge to Cllr Ward in 2013, but Cllr Henley decided earlier this week to throw his lot in with Cllr Clancy.

Cllr Henley met Cllr Ward briefly to tell him that he intends to mount a challenge.

The meeting was described as very brief but amicable.

The joint challenge may speed up a planned cabinet reshuffle as Sir Albert looks to refresh his team which has been in place since Labour regained control of the council in summer 2012.

Rumours are rife among the Labour group about changes at the top, with most bets being placed on John Cotton, cabinet member for social cohesion, losing his job to Erdington district committee chair Penny Hollbrook.

Cllr Henley has been outspoken over numerous issues facing the council, in particular the cost of the Capita-Service Birmingham IT contract. He was appointed chairman of Service Birmingham and has worked to reduce the £100m-plus cost to the council of the contract.

He is also believed to be unhappy about Birmingham’s poor record for children’s social services and also feels that the council leadership has not handled the Trojan Horse ‘Islam plot’ affair very well.

Neither Cllr Clancy nor Cllr Henley could be contacted for comment.

But Chamberlain Files understands the two will formally launch their leadership campaign on May 23, the day after the local council elections. Supporters of Clancy have made it clear they do not intend to rock the boat during the election campaign or appear in any way disloyal to the local Labour party.

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