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Metro mayors appoint whitewashed leadership teams

The newly elected mayors of the West Midlands and Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authorities have announced their choices for deputy mayors.

And the mayors have selected deputies who are entirely white men, meaning that the vast majority of people appointed to leadership positions so far in the six new combined authority are white males.

This follows the Electoral Reform Society releasing a report last month that predicted 93% of the new leaders were likely to be white men, a prediction that is looking likely to be correct.

In the West Midlands, conservative mayor Andy Street announced that his deputy mayor would be Cllr Bob Sleigh, who is leader of Solihull Council and has been chairman of the combined authority since 2015.

“I wanted Bob to take on the role of deputy mayor for two main reasons,” said Street. “First, he has done an excellent job in getting the West Midlands CA to where it is now, effectively laying the foundations to enable the mayor to build on the progress.

“Second, having been chosen as chairman in August 2015, it is clear he has the support and trust of the other council leaders. That will be crucial as we work to unite the leadership of the West Midlands.

“Having worked closely with Bob during my time as chair of the Greater Birmingham & Solihull LEP, I know Bob will be an invaluable colleague over the next three years.”

And Cllr Sleigh said it was a “pleasure” to be chair of the combined authority for the last 18 months, adding that he felt progress had already been made in a number of key areas.

“I am honoured to accept the position of deputy mayor and look forward to working closely with Andy during what promises to be an exciting time for the West Midlands,” he said.

Palmer appoints team for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough

And in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, mayor James Palmer announced that his two deputies would be leader of Peterborough City Council Cllr John Holdich and Cllr Robin Howe from Huntingdonshire District Council. They will head up a nine-man strong leadership team made up of entirely white males.

Cllr Holdich will chair the Delivery Group and work with the LEP to develop future industrial sectors and Cllr Howe will chair the Investment Group as well as be head of economic & Productivity Strategy.

Palmer also announced his plan for the first 100 days of his mayoral tenure which included commitments to transport and infrastructure as well as employment and skills, housing and the investment strategy.

Last week, mayor of Manchester Andy Burnham announced that Manchester City council leader Sir Richard Leese would be one of his deputy mayors alongside Beverley Hughes and Rishi Shori.

Top Image: West Midlands Mayor Andy Street (left) and Deputy Mayor Cllr Bob Sleigh (right) offer Cllr John Clancy, leader of Birmingham City Council (centre left) and deputy leader Cllr Ian Ward (centre right), the region’s formal backing for the city’s 2022 Commonwealth Games bid.

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Mac@Bath   15/05/2017 at 12:33

Why does your story contain ANY reference to the colour or gender of the new Team? What RELEVANCE is that?? What colour/gender are your journalists? So much for an "independent" service??

Samt   15/05/2017 at 14:12

An important article. Really disappointing that local government is still struggling to get its act together on this. So much evidence that diversity is not just important for its own sake and in terms of representation, but that it improves outcomes and results. There's always people (white men, usually) who say diversity doesn't matter. And while I'm sure none of the people mentioned in your article are racists or homphobes or misogynists or anything else, they will all have the same unconscious and implicit biases that lots of us share.

Clive   18/05/2017 at 10:30

Surely the ONLY consideration in these important roles should be whose best for the job ! whatever colour,race,religion etc etc

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