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Government calls for removal of John Hemming as Chair of Strategic Partnership (or do they?)

We have been told that next year's NRF for Birmingham will be over £32,000,000. That is obviously good news for the city.

There is a difficulty, however, in that in informal meetings representatives of the government have been threatening to not pay that money to Birmingham unless I am sacked as chair of the BSP.

I confirmed this in an informal discussion with Graham Garbett (director Government Office West Midlands) on Monday this week.

If the government say they will fine Birmingham £32 Million unless I resign of course I will fall on my sword. This is not, however, something that the government should get involved in. I have always had concerns about Civil Servants trying to exclude elected politicians from decisionmaking.

After the discussion on Monday I spoke to Joe Montgomery (director Neighbourhood Renewal Unit) and asked him for his views. He said he would talk to the minister. Joe phoned me on Wednesday, but would not answer the question as to whether or not it was acceptable for me to continue chairing the Strategic Partnership.

Clearly this issue has to be clarified. I was told that I would get a letter from Government Office. Nothing has arrived as yet. The answer needs to be either "yes" or "no". Weasel words that say nothing whilst sly, implied threats of funding cuts are made in confidential meetings are no good to anyone.

Frankly I believe that the government's actions on this are appalling. They are riding roughshod over local democracy. This does not bode well for the future. What I want now is an answer from Government Office. Is it or is it not acceptable for me to remain as Chair of the Strategic Partnership?

Comments

shaz said…
Any particular reasons why they would want to remove you as chair? Do they feel there are conflicts of interest? Do you have details or a breakdown of how much each area within birmingahm will get?
john said…
I think it is because I am too stroppy. The allocation mechanisms for the 6-7 financial year have not even come close to being worked out. This year's figures are widely available.

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R v SUSSEX JUSTICES ex p McCARTHY [1924] 1 KB 256

I have only just found this one which I think is accurately reported below (but if it is not please give me an accurate report).

KING’S BENCH DIVISION

R v SUSSEX JUSTICES ex p McCARTHY [1924] 1 KB 256

November 9 1923

Editor’s comments in bold.

Here, the magistrates’ clerk retired with the bench when they were considering a charge of dangerous driving. The clerk belonged to a firm of solicitors acting in civil proceedings for the other party to the accident. It was entirely irrelevant that there had been no evidence of actual influence brought to bear on the magistrates, and the conviction was duly quashed.

LORD HEWART CJ:
It is clear that the deputy clerk was a member of the firm of solicitors engaged in the conduct of proceedings for damages against the applicant in respect of the same collision as that which gave rise to the charge that the justices were considering. It is said, and, no doubt, truly, that when that gentleman retired in the usual way with the justices, taking with him the…

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