Paul Breeze Nomination For Council Leader – The Speech

At the Annual Council Meeting on 26 May, newly elected unaffiliated councillor, Paul Breeze nominated himself for the role of council leader against Councillor Mohammed Pervez.

Paul has sent Pits n Pots the text of his speech for us to publish and comment on.

It took a hell of a lot of courage for me to stand up totally alone in that chamber and deliver this speech. I knew the risk I was taking to my own morale, confidence and credibility, but I am proud that I did it.

I think that the many points I raised (who do we blame for the state of our country and our city; are we one city or a federation of towns; are Labour more interested in their political party or our city; is Mr Pervez the right man to take us forward?) are significant for the future of out city and worthy of serious discussion.

Thank you, Lord Mayor.


I’m not naïve, stupid or mad. This is no gimmick. I’m absolutely serious in nominating myself for Leader of the City Council for good, rational, practical reasons.
But we all know what’s going to happen at the end of this.

But that’s not going to stop me putting my case.

Labour have a majority in this council, 34 out of 44.

Even if my friend Cllr Dave Conway thinks One Man and God make a majority. Unfortunately, for me, an Atheist, one man and an imaginary friend don’t make a majority. Even with his 6 colleagues and their imaginary friends that would make Cllr Conway and 12 disciples. It won’t do it.

And even if the Conservatives included their imaginary friends “¦

“They’d only score from a call in.”

So Labour have a majority in this chamber.

But they DON’T have a majority OUT THERE. Not across the streets, the neighbourhoods and all the wards we’re privileged to represent.

The MAJORITY did NOT vote Labour. Labour should bear that in mind every single second, with respect and humility.

But already I’m disappointed by the tone set by Labour.

I regard Cllr Pervez as a friend, Mark Meredith, Paul Shotton, Tom Reynolds and many others. I’ve worked closely with them. But that friendship does not preclude severe criticism.
Their disingenuousness in certain areas does not impress.

44 councillors: All equally elected through the same process. Yet you’d think there were only 10 councillors of importance.

Labour have a massive opportunity to rise in graciousness and include ALL sections of council members. They were part of a Coalition last year working well. Now they have chosen to disregard the rest. They have the ten most talented people in the council? NO. They’ve chosen out of 34 not 44.
Also, Labour apportions NO BLAME to themselves for the state of the city or the country. They blame the Tory-LibDem coalition for everything, locally, nationally, past and present. Is that what we can expect now?

Have they forgotten? Up to twelve months ago we had 13 YEARS OF A LABOUR GOVERNMENT with a MASSIVE majority; THREE Labour MPs in Stoke-on-Trent since time immemorial, DECADES of Labour council complacency and wasteful spending. Thirteen years. 3 local Labour MPs, a Labour government in power, a brilliant opportunity: Stoke-on-Trent a special case. They FAILED – with their OWN government.

And now Labour plea “Ëœspecial case’ to the national ConservativeLibDem coalition whilst blaming them for everything in creation. Do they seriously believe that is going to wash with this government? It doesn’t even wash with the majority of people in this city, never mind anywhere else.
So, I’m putting myself forward to balance things up, reflect the real diversity across our city; make a realistic case for progress WITHIN this council, FOR this city and TO this government.

My cabinet would comprise:
* ONE member of the Independent group, of their choice

* ONE Conservative: Jack Brereton, 19 years old, our youngest ever city councillor, to become our youngest ever cabinet member. Ability, courage and maturity beyond his years, with all the support he needed. Imagine the signal that would send to aspiring young people across our city and beyond.
* ALL the other cabinet posts to Labour, of their choice.

* For a deputy, I would accept WHOEVER Labour chose from amongst themselves.

We would be a WIN-WIN situation city council, taking a radically different INCLUSIVE approach to address the REAL NEEDS of OUR CITY.

This Government would absolutely sit up and take notice. No longer: short-sighted, narrow-minded, mean-spirited, backward-looking, basket-case back to same old Labour. We would absolutely get attention from Westminster.

So I ask Labour members: What comes first ““ OUR city, or THEIR party?

If I was Leader, I’d lead with ONE VISION and STICK TO IT

That ONE VISION would be “¦
* FAR-SIGHTED ““ create ONE CITY. Not a federation of towns spread so thin hardly anyone benefits. Concentrate on ONE IDENTIFIABLE CITY CENTRE. That does not mean losing our heritage, but encompassing it.

* BROAD-MINDED ““ listen to all progressive views and ideas, from wherever they come, inside or outside the council, whatever political or non-political source.

* GENEROUS-SPIRITED ““ engaging all elected members and all communities; but totally rejecting any attempt to undermine progress without credible alternative

* FORWARD-LOOKING – pits, mass pottery production, Iron and Steel – Gone. “ËœGood old days’, miners’ strike, save our steel, bad old Margaret Thatcher, pointless; GONE. A NEW ERA: Our heritage won’t die. It’s here forever. But we MOVE FORWARD. Concentrate on the FUTURE

* COURAGEOUS ““ face economic challenge HEAD ON, determined, compassionate, but with UTTER REALISM. Face residents, and TELL THE TRUTH. We can’t be all things to all people. We have SEVERE CHOICES. You want this, you lose that. You want money into this, gets taken out of that. We’re all in this together. And in the spirit of equity, I would suggest all council officers above £80,000 a year ““ a massive salary by anyone’s standards – volunteer to take a 10% pay cut. And our residents would see their own austerity shared by those far better off.

But we know what’s going to happen ““ unless a miracle occurs. But I ask every councillor to consider what I’m saying, and vote as an individual; not blind loyalty to a party or group.

I want OUR CITY to SHINE. SHINE as a true, lean, modern beacon of efficiency, fairness, inclusiveness, innovation, and progress. Get through these dire times with HOPE and EXPECTATION.

Let that shining light lead to attracting POSITIVE ATTENTION from GOVERNMENT, bringing employers, businesses, jobs, students, visitors, creativity, aspiration, and inspiration.
Let that light SHINE SO BRIGHT that not just Staffordshire, the Midlands, and Westminster see it, but the WHOLE of the United Kingdom, Europe and the WORLD.

We have the POTENTIAL; TRULY TALENTED PEOPLE; the NEXT GENERATION coming up. We have the OPPORTUNITY. With the WILL, we can GET IT RIGHT. 4 years to turn things round; It’s OUR CHANCE.

Let’s enter this NEW ERA with a RADICAL NEW OUTLOOK.


Lord Mayor, I’m nominating myself for Leader of this City Council.

Thank you.

Stokie Terry Follows Denver Into Lord Mayors Parlour

Stokie lad Cllr Terry Follows was today [Thursday] voted in as the City of Stoke-on-Trent’s next Lord Mayor.

Fenton born and bred, the son of a miner and a pottery worker, Terry was nominated by Labour Councillor Tom Reynolds and was seconded by his City Independent Group Leader Cllr Dave Conway.

In nominating Terry, Cllr Tom Reynolds told the chamber that he had tremendous respect for him and for the work he does in his ward.

He also reminded the chamber of the work he carried out in helping to save the secondary school in his ward, Trentham High, from closure.

Tom Reynolds said that he remembered the time just days after the sad passing of his wife Christine, Terry was back in the chamber fighting on behalf of the school and the TAG. A fight that would eventually be won.

Terry Follows signed the declaration of acceptance for the office of Lord Mayor in a packed council chamber and told the councillors and members of the public present that he had waited a long 15 years to receive the honour of being the City’s first citizen.

He promised to do his best to promote the city at all times and to show the same commitment in his time in office as he shows to the electorate of Hanford & Trentham.

The 64-year-old lifelong “ËœStokie’ has represented the city on three separate occasions, the first spell starting 24 years ago in 1987. Following a year long break between 1991 and 1992, Terry returned for his second spell of four years before leaving the council in 1996. He has served the city continuously since returning as councillor in 2004.

Terry has also served as a cabinet member for the past two years holding, until earlier this month, the portfolio for environment, waste management and neighborhood services.

His career saw him start work at the age of 16 as an apprentice plumber for Seddon. He then went on to run his own plumbing and central heating business from the ages of 26 to 60, when he retired.

He has a son and three grandchildren – an 18 year old girl, 16 year old boy, and a new nine month old baby boy who Terry is looking forward to spending the coming years with – and says he is overjoyed to represent the city and its residents.

Terry takes over the civic chain of office from former councillor Denver Tolley. He will be accompanied in his civic duties by Jacqueline Pearson, who will be the Lady Mayoress. The council also decided that Councillor Majid Khan would become Deputy Lord Mayor.

Listen to Terry’s first interview as the new Lord Mayor of Stoke-on-Trent below.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council – From Inside The Chamber, Annual Council Meeting Part 2

Part 2 – Pervez Becomes Council Leader.

In direct contrast to the pantomime of last year’s Stoke-on-Trent Annual Council meeting, a new Council Leader was elected with no fuss what so ever. Labour Group Leader Mohammed Pervez was appointed Council Leader having previously served as Deputy Elected Mayor under the old system of governance. Pervez was proposed by the current Council Leader Ross Irving [CIA]. Cllr Irving said there was no one more surprised than him when he ended up as council leader last year but this year it was only right and proper that Pervez became Council Leader following the Labour Party’s outstanding success at the recent local elections.

He said that he was happy to be a part of a new coalition arrangement and that he felt that he could work well with Pervez. Cllr Tom Reynolds [Lab] seconded the proposal to appoint Pervez as Council Leader. He said that the Labour Group were surprised at how well the party had done in taking 17 out of 20 seats at the recent elections. He said that the Labour Group were looking forward to working with their coalition partners to deliver the best services they could provide in the difficult year ahead. The motion to appoint Pervez as Council Leader was carried. There were some abstentions mainly from the BNP and non-aligned councillors.

In response Cllr Pervez said that he was delighted to be Council Leader and he thanked the chamber for their support. He said that the 4 party coalition agreement was a historic moment for Stoke-on-Trent City Council. He said that the coalition partners would put aside their party politics for the greater good of the city and that they would work together to provide the best services possible. He informed members that being the Council Leader or serving in the Cabinet was not about being popular, it was about getting the job done.

Cllr Peter Kent-Baguley congratulated Pervez on becoming the new council leader. He said he wanted to send a note of caution to the quadruple coalition and that was with the small amount of opposition councillors they would need to be more vigilant in their pursuit of effective scrutiny. He also encouraged coalition party members to question decisions and not just to accept what the Cabinet propose in a tribalist way. He said in questioning decisions they were not being disloyal to their parties. He also took a sideswipe at the national coalition government for considering freezing Council Tax rises. He said that if this succeeded it would prevent local councils from raising much needed revenue. He agreed that there would be some cuts, but he urged all councillors to engage in some free thinking and not to accept every cut lying down.

Cllr Mick Salih paid tribute to the Labour Group for taking the political responsibility their election performance had afforded them. He said that it was right that they took the lead in any coalition agreement. He urged the coalition to not cut ward funding as councillors had been able to buy in services for young people that provided activities that had helped to reduce incident of Anti-Social Behaviour across the city.

  • Pervez then revealed the councillors that are to serve in his Cabinet, they are: Councillor Mohammed Pervez (Labour) – Council leader
  • Councillor Ross Irving (Conservative and Independent Alliance) – Deputy leader and community safety, partnerships and LSP (Local Strategic Partnership) Councillor Tom Reynolds (Labour) – Communications and community engagement
  • Councillor Debra Gratton (Labour) – Children’s Services
  • Councillor Hazel Lyth (Conservative and Independent Alliance) – Adult social care, sport, leisure and culture
  • Councillor Mervyn Smith (Labour) – Regeneration, economic development and jobs (city development)
  • Councillor Brian Ward (City Independents) – Housing, planning and transportation
  • Councillor Terry Follows (City Independents) – Environment, waste management and neighbourhood services
  • Councillor Sarah Hill (Labour) – Transformation
  • Councillor Kieran Clarke (Liberal Democrats) – Resources.

The meeting was then formally brought to a close by the New Lord Mayor and Chair of the City Council, Cllr Denver Tolley. The only remaining business of the day was the appointment of the Chairs and Vice Chairs of the various committees of the City Council. The appointments are as follows:

Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee
Chair – Roy Naylor
Vice chair – Mike Barnes

Children and Young People’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee

Chair – Mark Davis
Vice chair – Melanie Baddeley

Economic Development and Enterprise Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Chair – Adrian Knapper
Vice chair – Roy Naylor

Adults and Older People’s Wellbeing Overview and Scrutiny Committee

Chair – Jean Bowers
Vice chair – Jean Edwards

Improving Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Chair – Dave Conway
Vice chair – Gwen Hassall

Transformation and Resources Overview and Scrutiny Committee

Chair – Joy Garner
Vice chair – Dave Sutton

Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Chair – John Daniels
Vice chair – Amjid Wazir

Chairs and vice-chairs of regulatory committees are as follows:

Administration and Appeals Committee
Chair – Mick Salih
Vice chair – Megan Ryan

Audit Committee

Chair – Mike Coleman
Vice chair – Olwen Hamer

Development Management Committee
Chair – Paul Shotton
Vice chair – Terry Follows

Human Resources Committee

Chair – Bagh Ali
Vice chair – Margaret Barber

Licensing and Consumer Protection Committee

Chair – Joanne Powell-Beckett
Vice chair – Majid Khan

Mitchell Memorial Youth Centre Committee

Chair – Jeremy Dillon
Vice chair – Hazel Lyth