Ex-leader blamed me­dia as col­leagues urged him to go

Birmingham Post - - NEWS -

JOHN Clancy’s sur­prise res­ig­na­tion as coun­cil leader on Mon­day came as a di­rect re­sult of his in­volve­ment in the bins dis­pute – and in par­tic­u­lar, the fall-out from the aborted deal he struck with the Unite union in mid-Au­gust.

He an­nounced his res­ig­na­tion via his per­sonal blog fol­low­ing a meet­ing with his cab­i­net, who are re­ported to have urged him to go, and af­ter it was con­firmed that Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Sec­re­tary Sa­jid Javid had ordered an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the con­tro­versy.

It was also just hours be­fore he was likely to face a vote of no con­fi­dence from Labour col­leagues at their monthly meet­ing.

His 21-month reign as leader be­gan to un­ravel ten days ago when it be­came clear that the coun­cil was not fol­low­ing through with a deal struck by Cllr Clancy with Unite union boss Howard Beck­ett to end the strike.

As his ef­forts to end the dam­ag­ing strike col­lapsed, Cllr Clancy at­tempted to shift blame to the union, claim­ing there never was a deal. This was then con­tra­dicted in both a leaked email he sent to bins de­pot staff and a state­ment from the con­cil­i­a­tion ser­vice ACAS.

He was ac­cused of over­step­ping his au­thor­ity, sour­ing re­la­tions with unions and se­nior coun­cil staff and ig­nor­ing cru­cial le­gal ad­vice in or­der to force through the deal. A string of Labour col­leagues, both in pri­vate and in pub­lic, called for him to go. But in his res­ig­na­tion state­ment Cllr Clancy blamed “fren­zied me­dia spec­u­la­tion” for his de­ci­sion to quit. He added: “I 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.” A Quin­ton coun­cil­lor, he be­came leader in De­cem­ber 2015, tak­ing over from Sir Al­bert Bore. His key achieve- ments were de­liv­er­ing on a pledge to cut the costs of the Capita IT con­tract, sav­ing about £43 mil­lion, sav­ing the coun­cil a fur­ther £24 mil­lion on pen­sion deficit costs and se­cur­ing ma­jor in­vest­ment in hous­ing.

But his chaotic man­age­ment of the bit­ter bins strike, which be­gan on June 30, prompted di­rect in­ter­ven­tion of gov­ern­ment and se­nior Labour Party fig­ures.

Op­po­si­tion Con­ser­va­tive group leader Cllr Robert Alden (Erd­ing­ton) said: “This cri­sis could and should have been avoided and sadly the Labour leader’s ac­tions only wors­ened the sit­u­a­tion. It is sad it had to come to this, but Birm­ing­ham res­i­dents de­serve bet­ter than the lead­er­ship they have had from Labour this sum­mer.”

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Tory leader Robert Alden

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