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Walsall MBC's ruling Labour group could be forced to water down its radical decentralisation plans, following a me...
Walsall MBC's ruling Labour group could be forced to water down its radical decentralisation plans, following a meeting of Labour's national executive committee this Wednesday.

Proposals put before the NEC included allowing the regional Labour party to shortlist candidates for next May's elections, instructing the Labour group to carry out more extensive consultation in the community on decentralisation, and reorganising the district party.

Walsall deputy leader John Rothery said: 'It's an insult to assume we are not doing it [already]. At the pace we're going it'll be the turn of the century before we do anything.'

He confirmed leading council members were intending to sue shadow environment secretary Frank Dobson over allegations that the Walsall Labour group had indulged in bullying and intimidation at district party meetings.

Members first heard of the NEC proposals through the press, but Mr Rothery said he was 'pleased at long last that decisions are being made by politicians rather than media officers at Walworth Road'.

The proposed decentralisation structure would reduce the number of directors' posts from nine to five.

The council's social services director, Chris Hume, will quit his job today after a year in the post. Engineering director Don Peacock has already left his job instead of working until the end of October as originally agreed. Legal director Sheila Bull is on sick leave.

Housing director John Watts, who has been suspended since July, was given early retirement this week and a minimum package without enhancements.

Redundancy notices for 36 community services staff have been delayed until the end of November after repeated strike action.

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