A LEADING Labour councillor has claimed an act of ‘political skulduggery’ denied him the chance to be Mayor of Worcester.
Coun Paul Denham looked set to take on the role after spending a year as deputy to departing Mayor Coun Pat Agar.
But in a dramatic annual council meeting last Tuesday (June 3) the Rainbow Hill councillor was pipped to the ceremonial chains by Coun Alan Amos, who was elected by 18 votes to 17.
It led Coun Denham to write a scathing blog post, which blamed the new Mayor of Worcester, who backed a Conservative-led administration just two days after stepping down from the Labour Party, for ‘wrecking’ his Mayoral plans.
“Having been Deputy Mayor for the last year, I had the reasonable expectation to become Mayor of Worcester,” he said.
“I had made plans which would have benefited the city. More importantly I had worked with charities which I intended to raise money for during my mayoral year.
“But that expectation was snatched away in an act of political skulduggery which gives politics a bad name.”
His plans included sending disadvantage children on advantage holiday breaks, securing funding for Worcester Volunteer Centre and Air Ambulance charity, which needs to build a new helipad at Worcestershire Royal Hospital.
He also wanted to cancel the expensive free meals and drinks provided for Mayors.
But Coun Denham said this will not happen because of what he described as a ‘dirty deal’ between Coun Amos and the Conservative group, which would see the new independent councillor become Mayor of Worcester if he gave the Tories the extra vote needed to return to power.
“Self-interest and the gaining of power to feed local politicians’ egos will, unfortunately, always be the hallmarks of a minority of local councillors,” Coun Denham added.
“This is precisely why many residents think that politicians are only in it for themselves, there’s no difference between them.”
“The reality is that most of us politicians – certainly in local government – and of all political persuasions, have nobler aims.”