Newly-elected Conservative leader of Nottinghamshire County Council, Ben Bradley, has told Gedling Eye that he hopes to “bring together” government, the county’s Conservative MPs, and County Hall to deliver more for residents in the borough.
“We can all be on the same page”.
Gedling voters elected six Labour and three Conservative councillors on Thursday 6 May.
This was disproportionate compared to the wider county as Conservatives gained an overall majority of 37 seats.
Labour garnered 15.
Mr Bradley stated how one of the most prominent lines of feedback given to Tory candidates in the borough during the campaign was the need to improve local roads and motorways.
“We need to look really hard at how we can deliver more there”.
“People need to feel a tangible benefit” and that “things are improving”.
Mr Bradley also spoke of more “levers at County Hall” in order to ensure “economic opportunities as we come out of COVID to boost town centres”.
He then described more regional developments, including an upcoming freeport at East Midlands Airport.
This theme of investment has become the Conservative’s calling card and an effective vote winner.
It is thought to be a theme which particularly resonated with electors nationwide due to the Prime Minister’s emphasis on ‘levelling up’.
His councillor and MP foot-soldiers are certainly continuing to emphasise this line.
As Mr Bradley also agrees, as the “leader of the County Council rather than the City Council”, with the newly elected Tory PCC, Caroline Henry, that funding should be decentralised from the city to more “rural areas”.
As an MP for Mansfield, he has felt that there was a “city centric resource”.
Mr Bradley was amused when asked whether he owed his and his party’s victory to Boris Johnson – or even to Dominic Cummings due to recent publicity grabbing leaks.
Instead, he referenced a prevailing “national mood”, “people feel optimistic” as the “vaccine rollout is going well”.
He also cited a “trend, going across decades across the county… particularly across the north and the old coal field areas of the county, from Labour to Conservative”.
“Labour has just forgotten about those old working class values”.
“It’s as much about those local demographics and hard work as it is about the national stuff”.
On climate change, Mr Bradley wants to “lead the way” with a “net zero council”.
But there is also “a lot of impact we can make out there, particularly around transport and highways” – “our biggest impact environmentally”.
He added that conversations have also been ongoing with Severn Trent in order to alleviate local flooding.
Once he “get[s] beyond [his] first day, [he]’ll have a look at this in more detail”.
Mr Bradley, being both an MP and now county councillor, has received some criticism about holding both posts.
He said that “this situation isn’t as unprecedented as some might suggest”, citing government ministers as both constituency MPs and “entirely separate” additional roles.
Mr Bradley stated that Matt Hancock, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care – is “probably even busier than I am”.
“You have to be prepared to balance those things”.
Despite his multiple roles, he claims that he does not want to “climb the career ladder at Westminster”, “that’s not what I’m about”.
“What I want to do is work here in Nottinghamshire”.
“It’s not going to be easy, but I am confident that we can balance it” with a “good team of people”.
Mr Bradley gave the Prime Minister the “benefit of the doubt” regarding various enquiries into his funding arrangements.
Inquiries are currently underway into the exchanges of cash for the renovation of the Boris Johnson’s flat at No. 11 and his holiday to Mustique in December 2019.
Although, on any potential illegalities and their potential consequences for the PM, Mr Bradley was not going to comment on things he knows “absolutely nothing about” and refused to be drawn on speculation about what would be concluded in the coming months.
“I’ve no idea what the Prime Minister has or has not declared”.
The Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer, has “overdone” this line during the campaign, he said.
“People are in a good mood” and believe that the Government are delivering.
“It’s backfired on him big time”.
Be that as it may, the BBC and YouGov stated on 8 May that, after accumulating data from 1247 wards nationwide, they concluded “an implied swing since the 2019 General Election” of three points toward Labour.
Despite huge losses, promising signs may be deduced for Sir Keir Starmer as he seeks to sail the Labour ship away from a sting of dire electoral performances.
On Thursday, the Labour leader promised to repair everyday “Injustice and inequality” and stated that he is still “up to the job” of Labour leader.
Anneliese Dodds has since been replaced by Rachel Reeves as Shadow Chancellor, who will aim to forge a more distinctive and appealing economic alternative.
Angela Rayner, the party’s Deputy Leader was also demoted from the party chairmanship and Nick Brown ousted as PLP’s chief whip, replaced by Alan Campbell.
Nottinghamshire County Council, the region containing many target demographics – displayed by surviving Labour support in Arnold – will be on Labour’s list of potential gains next time round.
Ben Bradley and his colleagues will need to deploy changes over the next few years in order to convince local electors to stick with them.