Nottinghamshire County Council leader on his ''busy' first 100 days in office

Many people questioned how it was possible to work two jobs at once when the Conservative MP for Mansfield added leader of Nottinghamshire County Council to his CV back in May 2021.

By Anna Whittaker, Local Demcoracy Reporter
Tuesday, 17th August 2021, 7:04 pm

Many people questioned how it was possible to work two jobs at once when the Conservative MP for Mansfield added ‘Leader of the County Council’ to his CV back in May 2021.

And it has been a “busy” first 100 days in office for Nottinghamshire County Council leader and local MP Ben Bradley.

But speaking from County Hall in West Bridgford, coun Bradley insisted despite a “real challenge” in the first few weeks, he is getting into the flow of the new job.

Nottinghamshire County Council leader and Mansfield MP Ben Bradley.

So far, a huge review on road maintenance has started, as well as the council plan survey – the biggest consultation the County Council has ever done.

Coun Bradley said: “I think we’re doing a good job [but] the proof will be in the pudding, I will either fall flat on my face or it will go really well.

“Lots of people ask how many hours you do in this job but truthfully, it’s impossible to take off one hat and pretend you’re not the other thing.

“It’s been busy and there have been weeks where you’re working 8am until 8pm, or 60 or 70 hours a week and trying to cram it all in.

“The chief executive said I sat through something like 18 hours of briefings in the first 10 days.”

The big projects his team are working on so far include plans for four new schools and a huge development for 1,700 homes in Mansfield.

Mr Bradley added: “We’ve got this huge opportunity, because of the two roles, to really make a case for our local big priorities.

“Our Freeport, our Development Corporation, Toton and HS2.

“We’re talking 85,000 jobs between those three sites. I’ve been able to go and talk to all of those ministers and officials and make that case in a way that nobody else can.”

The MP also talked about plans for HS2, which is a “huge priority” for the county and the region.

He said: “HS2 will go ahead in some form, I can’t say what that form will be.

“What’s been key for us is whatever you decide nationally, we want to make sure that Toton and our East Midlands hub is a key part of that.

“I think Toton being involved in some shape or form is very likely, we’ve made that case pretty strongly.”

But critics of the MP – who has made controversial comments both online and in Parliament – have not disappeared and coun Bradley feels they will “always” be there, “particularly in a place like Mansfield”.

Mr Bradley faced further criticism last month after it was revealed that he accepted a hospitality ticket from a betting firm for the England vs Germany Euro 2020 match.

He said: “I want to achieve things and do things for our neck of the woods.

“In the short term, part of the reason I am doing this is I don’t want to be a minister. I see this as career progression.

“My kids are five and seven and I don’t want to be in London five days a week. It is really challenging.

“I resigned as a PPS [Parliamentary Private Secretary] last year on the basis that actually, I like my children and I like to go home at night and see them.”

Kate Foale, deputy leader of the opposition at Nottinghamshire County Council and Beeston Central and Rylands councillor, said: “I find it difficult to believe that he can do all that at once. I am very concerned about it, but time will tell.

“I just hope he doesn’t reject the people of Nottinghamshire for his political ambitions.”