Leader in wait­ing wants unity

Macclesfield Express - - BEFORE THE BENCH -

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

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