Express & Star

Labour take control of Walsall Council

Labour has wrestled back control of Walsall Council after 14 years following a crunch meeting over the leadership of the authority.


Three members of the party even flew back from their holiday to ensure they had enough people to back a motion to remove conservative Councillor Mike Bird and appoint Labour's Sean Coughlan in his place.

The motion was carried with 31 votes for, 12 against and 16 abstentions mostly from the conservative group. Mayor Pete Smith, an independent, voted with the Labour side. Councillor Steve Craddock, the UKIP member for Brownhills, was the only member missing.

Councillors Angela Underhill, Gareth Illmann-Walker and Patti Lane interrupted their holidays abroad to take part in the political challenge.

In the run-up to the vote, Labour held 30 of the authority's 60 seats following the party's by-election win in the Birchills and Leamore ward.

At an extraordinary meeting of the council last night, Councillor Coughlan pointed out that only 22,970 people had voted for the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition which has held power for the last two years, compared to 43,990 voting against it.

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