Senior councillor fails to win re-selection

A senior Walsall Tory councillor has failed to win re-selection for the forthcoming election, prompting a challenge to overturn the decision.

Conservative candidate for Aldridge Central and South Bobby Bains
Conservative candidate for Aldridge Central and South Bobby Bains

Members of the Aldridge Central and South branch of Conservatives ‘overwhelmingly’ voted for local man Bobby Bains as their chosen candidate for the ward in place of John Murray, who has held the seat since 2011.

Councillor Murray is currently the chairman of the Scrutiny Overview Committee and sits on the powerful planning committee as part of his duties.

He said he had appealed on the grounds the meeting was held in contravention of the rules, adding a number of appeals had been lodged.

But Aldridge Central and South branch chair Pard Kaur said the correct process was followed and more than 50 members took part in the ballot.

Mr Bains, aged 35, said he would focus on tackling issues of crime and litter if elected and hold street surgeries for residents.

Councillor Murray said: “I have lodged an appeal through the correct channels regarding the Aldridge Central and South branch meeting which took place on February 8 2022.

“The grounds of my appeal are that the meeting was held in complete contravention of the Conservative Party rules, in particular the set of rules entitled ‘The Procedure for the Selection of Local Government Candidates 2022’.

“I am led to believe that my appeal is not the only one concerning the meeting  of February 8 2022.

“I am awaiting the outcome of my appeal and therefore, as I am sure you will understand, I am unable to say anything further as that may prejudice my appeal.”

The West Midlands Conservative Association said it was unable to comment on any internal process issue.

Councillor Kaur said: “We had over 50 members in attendance and the members overwhelmingly selected Bobby Bains as their chosen candidate for Aldridge Central and South.

“The selections were done as per the rules and has been done in the correct manner as per the Conservative guidelines.

“I wish John all the best and thank him for all the work he has done. I’m looking forward to working with Bobby.”

Mr Bains said: “I want to be visible and if I am elected one of the things I’m going to do is work with the current councillors and hold street surgeries and be out there.

“The key is maintaining front-line services for all the residents here. We want to see Aldridge safer and cleaner. That’s what I’m going to be working towards, if elected.

“Any concerns people might have, I’ll take that up with the relevant bodies. I’ll be working for the people of Aldridge.

“I’ve lived here 25 years, I understand what the issues are. We’ve all got to start somewhere and I’m here to do the best I can and be the voice for the people.”

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