Cradley councillor calls on authority leader to resign

A cabinet member on Dudley Council has threatened to quit unless the authority’s leader stands down.

Cllr Natalie Neale, who is the Conservative member for Cradley and Wollescote and cabinet member for adult social care, sent an email to Councillor Patrick Harley, in which she claimed that she will be resigning unless he quits.

In her message, which was also circulated to councillors on both sides of the chamber, Cllr Neale said:

“It has taken me a long time to consider this, but I feel I have no alternative to take this course of action. I do not feel I can continue as cabinet member for adult social care under your leadership.

"I don't feel I can fulfil my senior role due to feeling uncomfortable and vulnerable in your presence.”

“I do not believe you are a suitable person to lead the council, and this email is to inform you that I will resign as cabinet member of adult social care, unless you stand down as leader of the council."

Dudley Council has confirmed a complaint has been received and is being considered.

Meanwhile, the Labour group have called for an extraordinary meeting of the council to be held as soon as possible, with members intent on bringing a vote of no confidence against the leader. Speaking about the allegations to Black Country Radio, Cllr Harley denies any wrong-doing. He said:  

"This is a private and personal matter. The allegations are unfounded and will be contested through the correct legal process. If those allegations are repeated in a public domain then I will seek damages and fight to protect my reputation.

"Politics is a dirty business but this move smacks of desperation by a Labour party that lost seats in the May election. No other Labour group in the country performed as poorly as they did in Dudley and likewise, not many Conservative groups did as well which just might give a hint as to why Labour are keen to get rid of me.

"It's a shocking and tawdry tactic and people will see this for what it is. I have been inundated with support not just from Conservative colleagues but also Labour members who see this for what it is "

The council confirmed it has received a request for an extraordinary meeting to be held, which would 'follow the council process'.


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