New era as Walsall Council set to elect new leader

Walsall Council is set to appoint a new leader following the Conservative Party's suspension of previous boss Mike Bird. An extraordinary meeting of the full council will take place on Monday, June 3 with the sole business of a new supremo being voted in to fill the vacancy.

It is anticipated Councillor Garry Perry, who has been elected to lead the Walsall Conservative Group, will become the new leader of the authority at the meeting. Councillor Perry, who has represented Pelsall since first being elected in 1998, said he will lead the Tory group with 'integrity and dedication' and build on the successes they have enjoyed.

He added, pending the outcome of the June 3 meeting and if he is successful in becoming authority boss, he will name his cabinet. During his time, Councillor Perry has held a number of senior roles, including his current post as deputy leader for resilient communities, and was borough Mayor in 2011.

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Councillor Perry said: "Without doubt it has been a challenging few weeks, especially following a brilliant set of local election results that defied the national trend and highlighted our notable achievements. In my address to the Conservative Group, I outlined my leadership plan, which I will share publicly in due course.

"I am deeply honoured to receive such a strong endorsement from the group. It is incredibly gratifying to know that my colleagues have confidence in my leadership. This endorsement motivates me even more to work diligently and collaboratively to achieve our shared goals. I look forward to leading with integrity and dedication to ensure our continued success."

Councillor Bird was suspended by the party for three months and given a further 12 month ban from holding any leadership position within the party following a disciplinary investigation. He has appealed the decision. Councillor Suky Samra was also suspended by the Conservatives as part of the same investigation but he has sat on the council as an independent since March last year.

In the wake of this, the majority of group members backed the formation of the Conservative and Independent group with Councillor Bird still at the helm.

But the Local Democracy Reporting Service understands the Conservative Party received complaints which resulted in emails being sent to those members which warned them they faced allegations of breaching their code of conduct. The first full council of the new municipal year this week confirmed the political groups represented on the authority with Councillor Perry leading the Conservatives.

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