Labour selects new Birmingham City Council leader

Business group welcomes Cotton appointment

Councillor John Cotton

The appointment of a new leader for Birmingham City Council has been welcomed by Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce.

The new leader is set to take the reins of Birmingham City Council after the Labour Party selected Councillor John Cotton to replace the outgoing Councillor Ian Ward.

Cllr Cotton, who was previously Cabinet Member for Social Justice, Community Safety and Equalities, has been recommended following an interview process with Labour’s ruling National Executive Committee (NEC).

The NEC has also recommended Councillor Sharon Thompson as the new deputy leader, succeeding Councillor Brigid Jones.

The changes came following the release of a report last week which was highly critical of the city council.

In a tweet on Sunday, the Birmingham Labour Group said: “At today’s meeting of the Labour Group we confirmed our brilliant new leadership team that will be taking the city forward as we seek to build a cleaner, safer and better Birmingham for everyone.”

Cllr Cotton said: “This is a huge honour, leading the city that has always been home.

“These are not the circumstances I would have wanted to take over in, but I feel I have a duty to serve. I will do all I can to unite the Birmingham Labour Party and deliver for our citizens.

“I want to pay tribute to Ian Ward who has not only led Birmingham City Council through a cost of living crisis, pandemic and delivered the greatest ever Commonwealth Games, but has given a lifetime of service to our movement.

“There is a huge amount of work to do over the coming months. We need to deliver the service improvements our communities deserve and tackle the significant financial and structural issues that threaten to impede our progress.”

Henrietta Brealey, chief executive of Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce, said: “We congratulate Cllr John Cotton and Cllr Sharon Thompson on their appointment as leader and deputy leader of Birmingham City Council.

“Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce has a long track record of working with the leadership of Birmingham City Council to bring the local business voice into the critical discussions of the day.

“We look forward to continuing that relationship as Birmingham’s businesses navigate the challenges of the current environment, while capitalising on the opportunities ahead for the city.

“Our best wishes for the future to the outgoing leader and deputy leader. In particular, I’d like to offer my thanks Cllr Brigid Jones who worked proactively with the Chamber to support and champion the needs of local businesses throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and has been committed advocate to engaging employers in tackling youth unemployment.”

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