Leader in waiting wants unity
THE woman in line to take over as the next council leader has vowed to unify her party.
Rachel Bailey was picked as the leader of Cheshire East Conservative group this week, beating rival candidate Janet Clowes.
The Conservative group is in the majority on the council group so she is expected to be voted in as the next Cheshire East leader and will replace outgoing leader, Michael Jones, at the full council meeting next month.
She told the Express it’s too early to comment on the issues affecting Macclesfield but will make an announcement on the priorities for the town when she becomes council leader.
But she said she aimed to unify her party as leader.
Councillor Michael Jones is due to be replaced as leader of the council on Thursday, February 25, after he resigned citing party infighting. It came after concerns were raised over contracts issued to Core Fit, a firm run by his personal physiotherapist Amanda Morris.
Coun Jones said his resignation was nothing to do with the contracts, and council bosses said he was not involved in them being awarded to the firm.
Coun Bailey, cabinet member for children and families, who represents Audlem, said she wants to bring harmony to the group. She said: “I look forward to leading the group. I want to ensure good communication and that we are unified and transparent.
“It’s about liaising with the group and providing a list of priorities when I become council leader. I want to ensure everyone is aware of the work and seek their endorsement before making an announcement.
“It would be inappropriate to say I’m going to do X Y and Z for Macclesfield, it’s my approach to be collective.
“Macclesfield town centre is one of the pieces of work underway but it would be inappropriate to comment until I’ve engaged with the group.
“There will be a full announcement when I become leader at the end of February. Watch this space.”
Coun Michael Jones said he was relieved to no longer be leader.
He said: “Coun Bailey will now unify the group and party in the way I resigned to achieve.
“I envisage she will run the council in a different but effective way.”
All 82 councillors will elect the next leader next month.
●● Rachel Bailey