Birmingham City Council leader Ian Ward has narrowly survived a tough leadership challenge from his cabinet colleague Cllr Waseem Zaffar today.

Results of a closed vote which took place today (Saturday 14 May) revealed that Cllr Ward has beaten off a dramatic challenge to his leadership and will remain in control of Birmingham City Council for another four years.

Cllr Ward (Lab, Shard End) is heaving a big sigh of relief this afternoon after fighting off a heated leadership challenge from cabinet member for Transport and Environment Cllr Waseem Zaffar (Lab, Lozells).

Cllr Ward won 33-31 in a dramatic and fierce second vote after backbencher Cllr Liz Clements (Lab, Bournville and Cotteridge) was eliminated after the first round of voting. Cllr Clements had been hoping to make history by becoming the first female leader of the council this century.

If Cllr Zaffar had succeeded in his leadership challenge he would have made history in the city by becoming the first person of colour to lead Birmingham City Council.

Cllrs Zaffar and Clements had both voiced concerns about Cllr Ward’s alleged failure to “listen” to backbench colleagues which compelled them to force a leadership challenge.

Cllr Ward’s position as leader of Birmingham City Council comes with a wage packet worth £75,000 plus expenses. Cllr Ward will also take control of the £3.2 billion annual budget set aside for the city.

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