BRISTOL MAYOR: New cabinet members
Marvin Rees named four members of his next ruling administration as he was sworn in for his second term as Bristol mayor today (May 10).
Mr Rees, who won last week’s mayoral elections, announced he had re-appointed both former deputies, Craig Cheney and Asher Craig, and two former cabinet members, Helen Holland and Helen Godwin, to the nine-strong ruling group of councillors.
There has been speculation around whether he will revert to a rainbow cabinet of cross-party councillors, which he axed during his first term in office.
Mr Rees has ruled Bristol City Council for the best part of the last five years with a majority of Labour councillors and a Labour-only cabinet.
But a “Green surge” in voting at this year’s local elections saw the Labour group lose overall control of the council as the Greens more than doubled their seats.
Both groups now have 24 councillors in the chamber. The Conservatives have 14 and the Liberal Democrats have eight.
The results have put pressure on Mr Rees to appoint cabinet members from the opposition benches.
Sandy Hore-Ruthven, the Green Party candidate who came second to Mr Rees in the mayoral race, has said the Labour mayor should pick a rainbow cabinet.
Lockleaze councillor Heather Mack, who is among the new crop of Green councillors on the council, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service today she thought Mr Rees should appoint at least two Green members to the ruling group.
The appointment of Cllrs Cheney, Craig, Holland and Godwin, who all keep their portfolios from the previous administration, leaves five places to be filled.
Mr Rees said he would announce the rest of the cabinet “in due course”.
His first cabinet in 2016 contained six Labour members and one from each of the main parties. That came to an end in November 2017 after Mr Rees said the cross-party arrangement was no longer working for him.
Speaking today after signing a declaration of acceptance to become Bristol’s executive mayor, Mr Rees paid tribute to three of his former cabinet members: Afzal Shah and Kye Dudd, who lost their seats in the election, and Anna Keen, who did not seek re-election.
He also spoke about the importance of cross-party working.
Mr Rees said he would work with the leaders of the local authorities in South Gloucestershire, North Somerset, and Bath & North East Somerset for the “betterment of life in Bristol and the wider Bristol area” through the West of England Combined Authority, under the leadership of the new metro mayor, Labour’s Dan Norris.
“There is a common good that transcends all of us, that transcends party and transcends geography, and it’s our responsibility to work together for that common good,” he said.
“We’ll also be visiting how we work within this organisation, in the chamber and cross party. Our door is always open to people who turn up with solutions.”
Restating his ambitions for Bristol, and his commitment to inclusion, tackling poverty, decarbonisation and being pro-nature, Mr Rees said he was “humbled” to be re-elected.
“It’s an endorsement of what we’ve done in the city over the last five years,” he said. “We’re going to continue to work with our city partners, we’re going to continue with the scale of ambition and we’re going to make sure that the city we build, we can make it a city of hope.”
Words: Amanda Cameron, Local Democracy Reporter
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