Nottingham Independents back Conservative Ben Bradley for devolution mayor

The Independents group at Nottingham City Council has endorsed Conservative MP Ben Bradley’s bid to become the first East Midlands mayor.
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The group said Coun Bradley – Mansfield MP and leader of Nottinghamshire County Council – had the most impressive financial track record.

The new mayor will be in charge of the East Midlands Combined County Authority, which was formally created last week ahead of the election in May.

The Nottingham Independents are the main opposition on Nottingham City Council, with three members.

Coun Kevin Clarke (left), of the Nottingham City Indepdenents, gives his support to Coun Ben Bradley for the East Midlands Mayoral election. Photo: SubmittedCoun Kevin Clarke (left), of the Nottingham City Indepdenents, gives his support to Coun Ben Bradley for the East Midlands Mayoral election. Photo: Submitted
Coun Kevin Clarke (left), of the Nottingham City Indepdenents, gives his support to Coun Ben Bradley for the East Midlands Mayoral election. Photo: Submitted

The group is not fielding a candidate in the election.

The Nottingham Independents are not in any way connected to the opposition Indepdendent Alliance at the county council.

Coun Matt Relf (Ash Ind) is also standing in the mayoral race as an Independent and has the support of the county Independents.

However the separate Nottingham city Independent group has chosen to to publicly back Coun Bradley instead.

Coun Kevin Clarke (Ind), Independents group leader, said: “Coun Bradley is the sensible solution.

"He has a track record which speaks for itself.

“He has held the county council’s budget together without things going wrong, in contrary to what has happened here with Labour.

“The city council’s mistakes with Robin Hood Energy, the Housing Revenue Account and big spending are coming home to roost.

“We will feel the knock-on effect of that in this budget.”

The Labour leadership at the city council says their precarious financial position is due to years of Government underfunding and rising care costs.

However, it has admitted financial mistakes have been made, including the collapse of council-run Robin Hood Energy and the unlawful misspending of large sums meant for housing improvements.

Coun Bradley said: “It’s really important we get the right person for the job, regardless of politics.

"We’re building a complicated organisation from scratch.

“We can see what happens when the wrong people are in charge and mistakes happen.

“It would have been easy for the Independent group to back an Independent candidate and the fact that they didn’t speaks volumes.

“This election is the first time in many years where residents in Nottingham could genuinely make a change in local leadership.”

Coun Bradley is standing against former MP Claire Ward (Lab), Coun Matt Relf (Ind), Derby Mayor Alan Graves (Reform UK) and Coun Frank Adlington-Stringer (Green).

Ms Ward responded: “From the countless Conservative voters who say they’re voting for me, to the Independent councillors privately lending me their support, I’ve been really encouraged by the breadth of support for my campaign.

“The new mayor will have to work across political boundaries, building consensus with people who wouldn’t normally vote the same way.”

The first-ever election for the mayor of the East Midlands Combined County will be held on Thursday, May 2.

The new authority will cover Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, Derby and Derbyshire.

The mayor will have devolved powers to make more major decisions locally, like West Midlands mayor Andy Street or Greater Manchester’s Andy Burnham.

The combined authority will receive £38m annually for 30 years and have greater controls over how money is spent on transport, education, housing, and the environment.