New council leader vows to put Walsall first, regardless of political colour
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New council leader vows to put Walsall first, regardless of political colour

Councillor Garry Perry was appointed to the role following the sudden resignation of Councillor Mike Bird last month.

Not only has the council’s leadership changed, but it is now working with a new national government following the general election and a new West Midlands Mayor, Richard Parker, who was elected in May.

Leader Garry Perry delivered his leadership report at last night’s meeting, making clear his intentions not to let party colours get in the way of the work of council.

He said: “We have a new government, we have a new regional mayor. It is in the interests of Walsall, whatever their political colour, that we work with them constructively.”

“I have already started these relations with the Mayor of the West Midlands, whose approach is very similar to that announced by the Prime Minister.

“We will not agree on everything, but no one has any interest in turning away because of a political colour or the colour of the cockade.

“We must put Walsall first in everything we do and, where I can, I will work constructively with the Government, with our regional mayor and others, to ensure that Walsall benefits from the investment that I hope will come.”

Councillors wanted to know how the new leader plans to tackle the problem of fly-tipping that is plaguing the community. Last year, the council issued nearly 500 fly-tipping fines and more than 20 fly-tipping fines.

Councillor Perry said he would continue with a “zero tolerance” approach and hoped the new government would introduce penalties for fly-tipping, such as loss of driving licences.

In addition to fly-tipping, inequality and community tensions have been put to the test for the new leader.

Opposition Leader Councillor Matt Ward wanted to know if Councillor Perry would contact community leaders to try to “calm” tensions.

Councillor Perry said: “Unfortunately, we cannot ignore that national events have affected the way people feel.

“What I would say is that it is important that as leaders we listen to our communities, that is the first form of respect.”