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15th Jun, 2021

Council Leader rejects Brunner claims and rues 'wasted years'

Ross Crawford 24th Mar, 2021 Updated: 24th Mar, 2021

“SHE says she’s fighting for the people, but what she’s actually done is diminish her voice.”

That was the verdict of Redditch Borough Council Leader Matt Dormer on the shock decision of fellow Coun Juliet Brunner to quit the Tory whip and go independent.

Coun Brunner, a former leader of the Conservative group, had said going independent would give her the freedom to speak out on controversial plans to site a cemetery on Ipsley Meadow and battle plans to put a new housing estate by Winyates Green ‘Mappleborough Woods’.

But Coun Dormer said the reverse was true.

Councillor Matt Dormer, Leader of Redditch Borough Council.

“She was given free rein to speak against Ipsley Meadow, there was and has been no whip, and what that means is that her voice would have been louder within the group, with a real opportunity to influence decisions.

“I also urged her to come forward with any suggestions as an alternative to Ipsley Meadow.

“She could have started a working group to look at any other possible sites, I said I would listen.

“But no, no suggestions were forthcoming from her and no options, yet she could have made a real difference.”

On the issue of not being selected to defend her Arrow Valley East seat in the forthcoming county council elections on May 6, Coun Dormer said: “She failed the application process because her application was so blase. It truly was the worst one.

“And the decision was made, not by me, but by an independent body made up of the people within her ward, so her own people didn’t want her.

“As for any unpleasantness in the group, I’ve got a fantastic group of people, and it’s just got better.”

He added it was also wrong to say Coun Brunner had been suddenly removed as leader after winning power in 2018.

“She was given 12 months notice that I was going to challenge her for the leadership, 12 months to put things right, but she didn’t,” he said.

“I look back on my six years on the council and in the first three years we should have been winning power, but we didn’t.

“Conservatives were winning everywhere but we weren’t and I think on it now and I see three wasted years where we could have accomplished so much more and be that much further forward than we are now.

He said he was also disappointed in the manner in which Coun Brunner had announced her resignation.

“The way she has done this is discourteous, I would have expected a telephone call or an email, it’s not the way to do things.

“I’m disappointed, it’s not the way to behave.”

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