Legal chief urged to investigate claim that Mike Whitby ‘self-promotion’ website breaks council rules

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Birmingham City Council leader Mike Whitby is facing a possible inquiry over claims that his new website breaches strict rules preventing politicians using local authority resources for “self-promotion”.

Hours after the site, was launched, a complaint about its content was lodged by former council Director of Corporate Governance and Monitoring Officer Mirza Ahmad.

Dr Ahmad wrote to the city’s Chief Legal Officer David Tatlow urging him to take action and “address the breach at once”, or face a formal complaint about Coun Whitby’s conduct to the Birmingham Standards Committee, which has powers Read the rest of this entry »

Mike Whitby launches the me-me-me for mayor website

In 2001 Mike Whitby, then the deputy leader of the city council Conservative group, helped to finance a successful campaign to stop Birmingham from being governed by a directly elected mayor.

His argument was that such a position was manifestly un-British, undemocratic, and that there was a real possibility that the mayor would turn out to be little more than a corrupt dictator.

The Noes won on that occasion, leaving Birmingham to struggle on with the council leader-cabinet system amidst a gradual realisation that Britain’s second largest city would benefit from Read the rest of this entry »

Byrne-Bore joint Birmingham mayor bid is dream ticket for some, nightmare scenario for others

Say what you will about Liam Byrne, but there’s no doubt that the former Chief Secretary’s decision to seek the Labour nomination to run for mayor of Birmingham has injected fresh life into what was turning out to be a rather dull contest – despite the odd hissy fit.

The entire dynamics of the selection process have been changed by Mr Byrne’s dramatic late entry. No longer are Labour members faced with a choice between the new in the shape of former Erdington MP Sion Simon, the old in the form of veteran council Labour group leader Sir Albert Bore, and something in-between Edgbaston MP Gisela Stuart.

The choice as it stands at the moment boils down to Mr Simon, Mrs Stuart, and Mr Byrne with Sir Albert Bore as his deputy mayor running mate. Mr Simon’s supporters were quick to claim that Mr Byrne’s intervention was not a “game changer”, but they surely spoke out too openly and too soon.

Labour’s regional office will finalise the shortlist if a referendum on May 3 delivers a vote in favour of a mayor, and that decision will have to be endorsed by the National Executive Committee. There is a rumour flying around that the shortlist will Read the rest of this entry »

Tory and Lib Dem manifesto no-show helps to make the case for elected mayor of Birmingham

Mike Whitby, leader of Birmingham City Council...

Mike Whitby

The local government elections on May 3 are likely to mark the end of an era in Birmingham.

If a referendum to be held on the same date steers the city in the direction of having a mayor, the annual contest to choose 40 of the 120 city councillors may never again enjoy the same prominence.

The mayor, who will be elected once every four years by 720,000 registered voters, will call the shots in future. The mayor will: Read the rest of this entry »

Mike Whitby photobombs No10’s mayoral launch – and PM promises a cabinet of the mayors

BIRMINGHAM’s Tory leader Mike Whitby will complete his oil tanker u-turn on elected mayors with articles in the national press and the Birmingham Post this week to declare his bid to be the Conservative candidate in the city.

The ebullient Cllr Whitby ensured he was at the very front of the crowd at this afternoon’s Downing Street reception to hear David Cameron announce the formation

Read the rest of this entry »

Mike Whitby prepares for mayor campaign with new mantra: ‘Britain’s best bet is Birmingham’

There have been many attempts over the years to promote Birmingham and give the city some tangible sense of identity.

A few years ago it was almost unthinkable for an aspiring executive to be seen out and about without sporting a Be Birmingham lapel badge.

Since 2004, the mantra that must appear on almost every city Read the rest of this entry »