Blaenau Gwent chief to stay on as leader
8:51am Wednesday 18th December 2013 in News
BLAENAU Gwent council leader Hedley McCarthy has categorically denied rumours of infighting within the majority Labour party group, and says he has no intention of resigning.
Last month minority group leader and Brynmawr councillor John Hopkins, a former leader of the council, asked Cllr McCarthy if he would be resigning in light of a Welsh Audit Office report which criticised leadership and decision making within the council as “still too inconsistent”.
The report, which was presented to members last month, said the council needs effective leadership, consistent management and delivery to ensure that the changes it is embarking on result in better outcomes for residents.
Speaking exclusively to the Argus, Cllr McCarthy said: “It’s institutional leadership that the report was referring to, which is both political and professional. I do not believe the report was referring solely to myself as leader – it’s referring to all aspects of leadership within the council, including executive members, officers and others.
“Cllr Hopkins is himself leader of the opposition and chairman of the social services and active living scrutiny committee too.”
“To be honest, it was a bit out of the blue. There are minority group members who are leaders – one is chairman of Democratic services.
“I did not take it particularly seriously but I have no intention of resigning.
“For me, the report was clearly referring to a collective responsibility of those in leadership positions across the council.
“I have taken them at their word of being a minority group, rather than an opposition group, and that we are all in this together.”
Former Labour party member Cllr Hopkins resigned as leader of the council in 2007 after he was told he would face and lose a vote of no confidence. He has since become leader of the independents.
Cllr McCarthy added: “I’m saying let’s work together and each take responsibility to put the council on a firm footing, which we intend to do.”
When asked about rumours of infighting and unrest within the majority Labour party, Cllr McCarthy said the party was in the best shape he had ever known it.
Tomorrow council members will discuss the revenue budget for 2014/15 and consider Phase 2 savings proposals.
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