Bromley council leader Stephen Carr set to resign less than a year before local elections
PUBLISHED: 17:02 14 September 2017 | UPDATED: 13:36 19 September 2017
He is expected to hand in his resignation tomorrow
The leader of the Conservative-run Bromley council has confirmed he has quit less than a year away from the next round of local elections.
Stephen Carr has headed up the council for 14 years and insists his decision comes after months of pondering his future.
But opponents say they are “baffled” by his decision to leave the role now.
His successor will be appointed at a meeting on Monday.
He told the Bromley Times: “In no way is this decision defeatist, I am resigning now to give our new leader enough time to establish a mandate ahead of the elections in May.
“I’ve always said I wanted to be the master of my own destiny, this gives me a chance to consider my options moving forward and consider doing some volunteering.
“I have been considering the move for some months. I was speaking to colleagues during Grenfell and the tragedy of the event made me ask myself, what am I doing?
“Of course I was never concerned about my position as leader, I have been regularly re-elected by my party members, I just feel it is time for someone else to take over.”
His decision was announced in the same week the education secretary Justine Greening said the council’s children’s services were “still failing to perform to an adequate standard” after it was branded ‘inadequate’ by inspectors last year.
But Cllr Carr, who represents Bromley Common and Keston and will continue to serve as a councillor, denied that had any impact on his decision.
He said: “Children’s services are continuing to improve, we’re the first local authority to avoid going into special measures after being rated inadequate, we’ve been dedicated and invested money into improving issues around management.
“The latest Ofsted report showed no children were at risk, and we’re continuing to improve in other areas.”
Bromley’s Labour group leader, Angela Wilkins, said she was “baffled” by the timing of the decision, adding: “I hope this is a chance for Bromley council to move in a new direction ahead of next year’s election and focus more on the quality of services.”
Cllr Carr tended his formal resignation on Friday, giving the council 10 working days to appoint a new leader.