Political Power Play – The leading faces of local government

In the run up to the Local Elections, we’re asking, who are the leading figures of local government? Who’s changing the way our services are delivered? We’ve identified the David Cameron, Ed Miliband, George Osborne and Nick Clegg of local government…

The David Cameron on Local Government: Cllr Philippa Roe

Philippa Roe

David CameronWestminster City Council, partly thanks to its location and leadership history, is seen as a flagship for Conservative policy in local government. From Right to Buy to troubled families, the City acts as a think tank for Tory policy. Cllr Roe is at the forefront of this and is seen as one of the Cabinet’s ‘go-to’ leaders.Leader of Westminster City Council since 2012, her brief spans growth, performance and equalities to West End Partnerships and Royal Parks.

Before entering politics, she was a Conservative Party insider for many years, sitting on the Private Finance Panel and heading the Treasury Team on the James Committee. Her background is in business having sold two companies, served as CEO to a publicly quoted company and as a Director at Citigroup

The George Osborne of Local Government: Sir Howard Bernstein 

Howard Bernstein

George Osborne

Controversial, we know, but this steadfast Chief Executive of a long time LabourCouncil has thought the unthinkable and in a remarkable and, for some, unholy alliance with George Osborne has delivered a series of significant powers for Greater Manchester. In a series of secret negotiations, Sir Howard has managed to wrestle powers from the Department for Health and other bastions of centralism whilst at the same time selling the plan to ten highly individual councils. Most of them Labour.

A long serving Chief Executive of Manchester City Council, Sir Howard originally joined the council as a clerk and rose to Chief Executive by 1998. Prior to his appointment as Chief Executive, Bernstein was instrumental in the creation of Manchester’s Metrolink System and a member of the Olympic Delivery Authority, the body responsible for delivering venues for the 2012 Summer Olympics.

The Ed Miliband of Local Government: Cllr Jim McMahon 

Ed Miliband

GoldeJim McMahonn-boy of Labour local government, Cllr McMahon has brought a new style of leadership to the LGA after Labour took power of the Byzantine cross-party organisation. Not scared to ruffle feathers and speak truth unto power, under McMahon’s leadership the LGA is turning a corner after a difficult financial period.

All this and he was one of the youngest council leaders in the country when Labour regained control of Oldham in 2013.  He was first elected in 2003 to the Failsworth East ward and served as the first Chair of the Cooperative Council Innovation Network.

The Nick Clegg of Local Government: Cllr Ruth Dombey 

Nick Clegg

Ruth Dombey

Cllr Dombey is the last Liberal Democrat leader in London and a leader amongst the dwindling band of Lib Dem council leaders nationally. But this hasn’t stopped her from expounding the principles of what her party can do in local governing. Intensely passionate about devolution, both nationally and at a local level, Cllr Dombey bucks the trend of her party’s national fortunes and is definitely one to watch.

First elected to Sutton Council in 2002, she became Leader in 2012. Cllr Dombey also represents her party on London Councils.

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