Leader of Central Beds Council announces he is stepping down

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The leader of Central Bedfordshire Council has announced he is to step down from the role in January.

Councillor James Jamieson will continue to chair the Local Government Association (LGA) and to represent his CBC ward of Westoning, Flitton and Greenfield.

The surprise move comes in the month when the council's chief executive Richard Carr is leaving the local authority.

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Councillor Jamieson posted on social media last night (Thursday) saying: "I've decided to step down as leader of the council.

CBC head office in Chicksands; (inset) Cllr James JamiesonCBC head office in Chicksands; (inset) Cllr James Jamieson
CBC head office in Chicksands; (inset) Cllr James Jamieson

"There's never a perfect time to go. But, after nearly ten years and light at the end of this pandemic tunnel, I have decided now.

"This will allow me more time to focus on my role chairing the LGA.

"It's been an immense privilege to lead CBC and I'm grateful for all the support I've had from both officers and fellow councillors.

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"I'll continue as a councillor and will give my full support to the new leader," he added.

"Nationally there's much to do as we come out of this pandemic, a planning White Paper, social care, recovery and Brexit.

"I look forward to continuing to work with the excellent team at the LGA and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, as well as councils and councillors across the country to address these."

Councillor Jamieson was first elected to CBC in 2009 and was elected as council leader following the 2011 elections.

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He was elected leader of the LGA Conservative group in July 2018 and then as LGA chairman a year later.

He previously represented Flitwick ward on CBC, and as council leader he chairs the executive committee.

His dual role chairing the LGA and as CBC leader has been targeted at full council meetings by independent councillors since the 2019 local elections.

Opposition group leader and Independent Potton councillor Adam Zerny has questioned whether councillor Jamieson can combine the workload from the two positions adequately.

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Attention will focus on his likely replacement and whether deputy council leader Richard Wenham would be the obvious successor.

If councillor Wenham has too many other commitments, other contenders could include his fellow Arlesey councillor Ian Dalgarno, Caddington councillor Kevin Collins and Sandy councillor Tracey Stock, all of whom are on CBC's executive.

Councillor Zerny tweeted: "Conservative leader of CBC James Jamieson has just resigned, only weeks after the chief executive Richard Carr stepped down."

And Independent Biggleswade South councillor Hayley Whitaker posted: "James Jamieson resigns as CBC leader citing his desire to focus on LGA work. No doubt time will tell us more."

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Conservative leader of Hertsmere Borough Council and Hertfordshire county councillor Morris Bright posted in reply: "Central Bedfordshire Council's loss is the LGA's continued gain.

"And that's great for the whole local government family."

An extraordinary meeting of CBC's executive is due to be held on Tuesday (Dec 1st) over the new discretionary business support grant scheme, which will be councillor Jamieson's next scheduled public commitment for the local authority.

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