Quinton Councillor set to become leader of Birmingham City Council
After several failed attempts Quinton Councillor John Clancy has finally succeeded in his bid to become leader of Birmingham City Council.
The council’s ruling Labour group elected Coun Clancy as he secured a nail-biting victory with 38 votes to 37 for his closest rival Coun Penny Holbrook.
It was the fifth time the former teacher and lecturer has attempted to secure the post having tried to oust Sir Albert Bore on four previous occasions.
Coun Clancy said: “I want to pay tribute to Sir Albert Bore for his dedication to Birmingham, his commitment to the people of Birmingham, for his leadership of the council and as leader of the Labour group for the last 16 years.
“Sir Albert has always put Labour values at the centre of his vision for Birmingham – he has brought world-class investment to the city and overseen the longest period of regeneration in the city’s history.”
Despite his win, Coun Clancy is unlikely to enjoy a honeymoon period in his new role.
He will be responsible for a £3 billion budget and his first job will be to convince the Government-appointed Birmingham Independent Improvement Panel that his administration can make the necessary changes to lift the threat of government intervention early next year.
He also has to swiftly get to grips with setting next year’s budget, with more cuts in the pipeline for the cash-strapped authority.
Coun Clancy said: “There are challenging times ahead for Birmingham and now, under my leadership, the Labour group will continue the work already started to swiftly address the concerns of the Kerslake report.
“I will also ensure the good work already under way on the improvement agendas for safeguarding and education continues, alongside our commitment to improved partnership working and a more open and transparent council.”
It took three rounds of voting by the city’s 78 Labour councillors to settle the four-way contest.
Coun Clancy won the first round with 31 votes, with Penny Holbrook second on 23.
Council deputy leader Ian Ward scored 22 and outsider Barry Henley got just one vote, his own.
A second round saw Coun Ward eliminated and Coun Clancy secure enough of his supporters’ second votes to win the final run off.
Coun Clancy’s campaign pledges include extending free school meals to all children at council-run primary schools and tearing up its £85 million per year IT contract with Capita/Service Birmingham.
Coun Clancy said: “I want to lead a city where every child, every citizen and every place matters.”
During the campaign, he said his first act as leader would be to get out of the Council House and start talking to the city at large.
The leadership battle followed the resignation of Sir Albert Bore in October who has led the Labour party in Birmingham for 16 years and spent two separate spells as leader of the council.
He had recently come under pressure as a result of the slow pace of improvement following last year’s damning Kerslake review of the council.
Two senior councillors resigned, saying they had lost confidence in the leader, and Sir Albert announced he was resigning as leader a few days later.
With a degree in English and law Coun Clancy has spent much of his working life teaching English in comprehensive schools, though he also spent a short time working as a commercial and venture capital lawyer in Birmingham in the early nineties.
More recently he spent five years as a visiting lecturer at the University of Birmingham Business School.
He is a keen darts player who has campaigned for the preservation of dart boards in Birmingham pubs .
Coun Clancy originally hails from Stockport but has lived in Birmingham for the last 25 years. He is married to Rachel, also a teacher, and has a daughter Anna.