Leader of Birmingham City Council steps down after “frenzied” speculation in the wake of bin strikes

The leader of Birmingham City Council says “frenzied media speculation” in the wake of the city’s bin strikes has led to his decision to step down from the role.

Cllr John Clancy

Cllr John Clancy

Cllr John Clancy will also resign his role as leader of the Labour party on the council in the wake of the dispute with refuse collection staff.

The strike had looked to be coming to an end last month before a deal between the local authority and workers collapsed.

Cllr Clancy said that while he accepted he had “made some mistakes”, he believes much of the coverage of the industrial action has been “ill-informed”.

“It has become clear to me that frenzied media speculation about the Birmingham waste dispute is beginning to harm Birmingham City Council and the Birmingham Labour Party,” he said.

“I can see no end to such speculation, as ill-informed as much of it is, for as long as I remain leader. I have therefore decided to resign both as Leader of the Labour group and as the Leader of Birmingham City Council with immediate effect.

“I would wish to stress that the actions I took along with my cabinet to negotiate an end to an extremely complex and difficult industrial dispute were done with the best of intentions. None of us are perfect, and I made some mistakes, for which I am sorry and take full responsibility.”

Cllr Clancy, who took on the role as leader at the end of 2015, said he had been able to look back on his achievements at the head of the council with pride.

He said: “These include issuing the first £45 million ‘Brummie Bond’ for local housing, and two other initiatives that generated substantial savings for the council – renegotiating the ICT joint venture agreement with Capita, and reaching agreement to reduce the council’s annual payments to the West Midlands Local Government Pension Fund.

“Events in my personal life during this year have convinced me that there are issues of far more importance than Birmingham City Council, and although this has been said by politicians many times before, on this occasion I really am looking forward to spending more time with my family.”

Deputy leader Cllr Ian Ward has taken on the post of acting leader until a permanent appointment is made.

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