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Sir Albert regrets cabinet departure of ‘invaluable’ James McKay

Sir Albert regrets cabinet departure of ‘invaluable’ James McKay

🕔06.Oct 2015

Birmingham city council leader Sir Albert Bore has responded to the resignation of cabinet member James McKay by saying he regrets his “invaluable” colleague’s decision to quit.

Sir Albert issued a statement following Cllr McKay’s shock announcement this morning.

He said:

I am sorry that James has found it necessary to make this decision. His contribution to the work I and the rest of the cabinet have been doing over the past three years has been invaluable.

Though we have faced a number of challenges, and continue to do so, we are making considerable progress to improve the city council itself and how it functions alongside its partners and its citizens.

I can only wish James every personal and professional success in the future.

In his resignation letter Cllr McKay said he did not believe Sir Albert was the right person to deliver the wide-ranging culture change recommended for the council in the Kerslake Review.

He added 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”.

Sir Albert addressed a closed meeting of the cabinet this morning after news of Cllr McKay’s resignation broke.

Claims that Birmingham’s Labour MPs have lost faith in Sir Albert’s leadership were given fresh legs by Gisela Stuart (Lab Edgbaston) who told the Birmingham Mail:

There’s a lack of coherent leadership. We are not making progress.

Meanwhile, McKay’s cabinet colleague Brigid Jones rallied to his side with a message on Twitter:

James McKay is a great friend and very talented colleague. Sorry to see him go and wish him all the very best.

Conservative opposition leader on the council Robert Alden weighed in demanding the resignation of Sir Albert and the rest of the cabinet.

The news the news that Cllr McKay has resigned from the cabinet over a lack of faith from city partners in Sir Albert Bore should come as no surprise. These same concerns with the leader of the council have been regularly raised with me by partners and by his backbenchers for years.

While it should be welcomed that the cabinet are finally waking up to the trouble Birmingham city council finds itself in, they cannot be absolved of responsibility for the mess we have got into over the last three years.

These same cabinet members who are now raising the concerns, ourselves and others have highlighted previously…. have supported a leadership that has resulted in three independent commissioners and one improvement panel being placed upon Birmingham.

No cabinet member can say they did not know it would be like this, the mess we see now is the same mess Sir Albert created by 2004, the last time he ran the Council. Then like now Sir Albert and his cabinet have overseen a failing children services department, refuse to listen to partners and have embarked on grand projects that are massively overspending.

Birmingham is a great city, Birmingham should be a world leader. Birmingham city council should be helping the city grow and companies relocate, we should be at the cutting edge of service delivery not languishing at the back.

The real change Birmingham needs can only be delivered by real change and that needs a Conservative-led council. Today’s resignation should be welcomed but until the whole leader and cabinet accept responsibility for their mess, resign and surrender control of the Council, Birmingham will never get the change it so badly needs.

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