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26-05-2010

Birmingham Council's reshuffle of Cabinet and Scrutiny positions has left the "Progressive Partnership" echoing the make up of the coalition government - it's mostly male and almost exclusively white.

The departure of Len "Gridlock" Gregory to the Lord Mayor's Parlour gave Mike Whitby the opportunity for a major re-shuffle, and he duly appointed his former leadership rival Randal Brew to the newly appointed Finance position - a role previously carried out behind the scenes by "Gridlock" himself.

Gregory's other portfolio, Transportation, has now been taken by amiable Bournville councillor Tim Huxtable, who also takes on the Regeneration role previously carried out by Neville Summerfield.

That leaves Ayoub Khan (Local Services and Community Safety) as the only ethnic minority member of the ten person Cabinet – with Sue Anderson (Adults and Communities) the only woman.

The Overview and Scrutiny Committees, meanwhile, have lost the considerable talents of Karen Hamilton (Transportation) – she’s replaced by Jerry Evans who - echoing the changes at Cabinet level - will combine the role with Regeneration.

By our reckoning – and we can’t be 100% certain because the Council website is out of date – we reckon that the senior councillors in charge of BCC comprise the following:

19 white middle aged men
3 white women
1 ethnic minority male

No doubt the leadership will argue that people are chosen according to their talents, not their gender or colour – which presumably means that women and members of ethic minorities simply aren’t up to the job.

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