Bulwell councillor says new Nottingham City Council leadership team are 'prepared'

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The new deputy leader of Nottingham City Council says he and the authority’s new leader are ready and prepared for the challenges ahead of them.

Coun Ethan Radford (Lab), who represents Bulwell on the council, has been confirmed as new deputy leader of the council with his colleague Coun Neghat Khan (Lab) now officially installed as the authority’s new leader, taking over from Coun David Mellen (Lab), who stood down earlier this year.

A Nottingham Labour Group meeting to choose a leader was due to take place in April.

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However, the party’s ruling National Executive Committee (NEC) stepped in to oversee the election.

Couns Neghat Khan and Ethan Radford are the new leader and deputy leader of Nottingham City Council. Photo: SubmittedCouns Neghat Khan and Ethan Radford are the new leader and deputy leader of Nottingham City Council. Photo: Submitted
Couns Neghat Khan and Ethan Radford are the new leader and deputy leader of Nottingham City Council. Photo: Submitted

The NEC interviewed potential candidates, and suitable applicants were due to be presented to the Labour Group to choose from at a meeting at the start of May.

However, the NEC selected Coun Khan as the only suitable candidate and she was confirmed as new leader at a full council meeting on May 20.

The lack of an election left some Labour members unhappy.

But Coun Radford said he and Coun Khan had already been planning for a leadership campaign before then.

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Coun Radford said: “At the moment we (he and Coun Khan) feel quite prepared.

“Before the party intervened, Neghat and I have been planning on running for leadership since January and February time and we made it clear to colleagues.

“It wasn’t an open election to the group but obviously we have been on the executive for a number of years together and we know what the challenges are facing the city.

"We are going into this with our eyes open.

“We are quite prepared.

"We have a good level of grip on the problems we are facing.

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“Moving forward in the next coming year we are in a unique position.

"Neghat and I are in place for three years, we will outlive the commissioners and really we need to get to a place where we don’t just look at this year, but look at the year after and the year after that.”

Meanwhile, Coun Khan has vowed to learn from previous mistakes the council has made.

The 43-year-old is only the second woman to lead the council – but becomes so at a tumultuous time.

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Last November, the council declared it was effectively bankrupt and a few months later, in February, the Government appointed commissioners to help run the authority.

The financial challenges have not only been put down to soaring demand and costs of services – as well as reduced Government funding – but also the council’s past mistakes, none more so than the collapse of its Robin Hood Energy firm in 2020, which cost the taxpayer an estimate £38m.

Coun Khan was on the board of RHE as a director, and took over as chairwoman in 2019, playing a key part in closing the company down.

She recalled: “There were lots of things that played into the unfortunate demise of RHE, but it obviously taught us a lesson and I believe in looking forward rather than back and not repeating the mistakes of the past.

"Before the NEC intervened I put my name in to run (as leader) and I was running a successful campaign.

“I believed then, and I do today, that I am the best person for the job.”

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