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Birmingham ruling group elects new leader

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The Birmingham City Council Labour group has elected longstanding council deputy leader Ian Ward as its new leader.

Ian Ward

Birmingham ruling group elects new leader

Ian Ward

Cllr Ward, who has been interim leader of the council since John Clancy resigned earlier this month, is expected to be confirmed in the role permanently at a meeting on 7 November.

Cllr Ward was first elected to the council in 1995 and has been deputy leader since 2012.

In a statement following last night’s vote, he said: “I take on this role with a great sense of responsibility. This is a crucial time for Birmingham and I want to send a clear message of reassurance to both the people of Birmingham and the Birmingham Independent Improvement Panel.

“The bin dispute must be resolved. The people of Birmingham deserve clean streets. But I won’t take my eyes off the other huge issues that face Birmingham. We need to balance the budget too.

“Since 2010 the council has shouldered £700m of cuts handed down by successive Tory governments. In the face of these cuts there has been a highly successful Labour movement of unity in Birmingham and I will not allow this to break down.

“These are challenging times for local government but I am ready to continue working with all our partners for a better Birmingham.”

Cllr Clancy stood down after less than two years as leader following controversy over his role in the city’s long running bin strike. Last week it was announced the government-appointed improvement panel would remain in the city, six weeks after its chair proposed stepping aside due to improvements in leadership of the council.

Birmingham has a challenging financial position and must deliver £171m of savings by 2021. In July interim chief finance officer Mike O’Donnell estimated £10m of the £71m savings planned this year were undeliverable, with a further £4m at risk.

The council has all out elections next May.

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