Ealing Council leader to step down

Cllr. Cudmore's departure to spark leadership contest

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The leader of Ealing Council John Cudmore has announced that he intends to step down in May. Cllr Cudmore who represents the South Acton constituency has also confirmed that he does not intend to stand at the next election.

The two councillors being tipped to replace him are Leonora Thomson and Martin Beecroft.

Mr. Cudmore, aged 57 had been leader of the Council for over 10 years and a councillor for 23. He is currently working as a director of human resources at Harrow College.

He was reported as saying that he considered stepping down last year but criticism of the Council's controversial £50 million Response programme persuaded him that some stability was necessary. The launch of the programme coincided with a series of high level departures amongst Council officers with some suggesting that people were leaving due to dissatisfaction with the scheme. It was revealed on this web site that the Council had spent £1.4 million on branding consultants to promote the scheme within to Council employees. At the same time local voluntary groups were being asked to submit to severe funding cuts.

Cllr. Cudmore said on his departure that "we are in a situation where in the next couple of years Ealing Council will be seen to be leaping forward." However concerns have been expressed by the opposition parties that the £345 million debt he will leave the Council with will be an on-going burden to local tax payers and that Response will not deliver the savings that it has been budgeted to make.

The Labour Party have selected local activist John Gallacher to take over Cllr. Cudmore's seat at the next election and Liz Brookes and Yvonne Johnson have been selected to continue. In a surprise move Cllr. Julian Bell has been deselected for the Acton Central ward. A recent meeting of the local party branch selected sitting councillors John Delaney and Laurence Evans but opted Theresa Byrne for the third ward nomination. She is the chair of the Ealing North constituency Labour party.

Cllr. Bell is reported to be disappointed not to have been selected for his local constituency and is looking to be nominated in another ward in Ealing borough. The local Labour party is currently the subject of an injunction by two councillors representing wards in Southall who failed to be reselected. The full list of candidates for the May 2006 elections are likely to be announced once all the wards have made their final selection.

March 25, 2005