Labour to force out Sheffield Council leader Terry Fox following trees scandal
and live on Freeview channel 276
The news broke this morning on the front page of the Yorkshire Post hours before the results of the local elections.
The revelation will trigger a leadership race and the party is expected to decide who will take on the role in the coming weeks. It is understood that other appointments will also be made and overseen by Labour’s National Executive Committee.
Coun Fox became leader in 2021 following Bob Johnson who held the post briefly after Julie Dore who stepped down after about a decade at the helm. He has been a councillor for 22 years over three separate terms.
Coun Fox has been under pressure to resign following the publication of Sir Mark Lowcock’s report on the tree felling inquiry. Calls included a petition and several protests.
The leaked report cited the saga as one of the reasons the party has been failing locally after losing its majority on the council in 2021.
The a long-awaited inquiry – commissioned as part of a power sharing deal between Labour and the Green Party – sought “truth and reconciliation” following the infamous Streets Ahead programme that aimed to fell 17,500 street trees as part of a £2.2 billion contract between the council and Amey.
The report showed the council overstretched its authority in taking drastic action against campaigners, had serious and sustained failures in leadership and misled the public, courts and an independent panel it set up to deal with the dispute.
Coun Fox was head of the programme for a year between 2015 and 2016 before Coun Bryan Lodge took over during its most controversial years between 2016 and 2018.
Both senior members refused to resign when the report came out then Coun Lodge later announced he was stepping down from his position as co-chair of the finance committee and reiterated that he would not be seeking re-election next year, a decision he made four years ago.