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MULLANEY GOES OFF THE DEEP END IN POOL ROW

11-02-2010

Sparkhill Baths

PHOTO: Thanks to Steve Beauchampe

Birmingham’s sports supremo Martin Mullaney has threatened to report rival councillor Salma Yaqoob to the local government Standards’ Board in a row over Sparkhill swimming pool.

Yaqoob wrote on her blog last week that the Liberal Democrats in general, and Mullaney in particular, are misleading voters over the future of the pool – which has been closed for 18 months - because pledges to rebuild it haven’t been matched by action.

Cllr Mullaney – the Cabinet Member for Leisure, Sport and Culture – gave Yaqoob a deadline of 5pm yesterday to retract her comments, but the Respect Party leader defied the threat insisting, “I will not be changing my article”.

At the heart of the dispute is the suggestion that Mullaney’s promise to deliver a new pool is little more than a vague aspiration – as reflected in an answer at a recent Council meeting where he said, “from an officer point of view, nothing has been allocated as such to Sparkhill, but there is the political will to allocate sufficient money to rebuild Sparkhill Pool.” 

Yaqoob commented, “He says different things in different meetings, and sometimes different things in the same meeting.

“I accept that the political will to rebuild the baths is there, but if the money has really been set aside, why hasn’t the consultation started?”

Mullaney is adamant that the cash for Sparkhill has been set aside in the latest budget, and feels that Yaqoob is getting bogged down in semantics rather than the real issue – and insists that he doesn’t really want to report her.

“I’d much sooner that we could get someone to mediate” he said.

“I’ve been through a Standards Board hearing because I’ve been there myself and know how unpleasant it is.

“I’m not looking for an apology, I just want her to accept that the money is there”.

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