Cardiff Council leader Phil Bale may have survived last night’s vote of no confidence against him, but even the strongest Bale supporters can’t deny that he has been clipped by the vote.
With his position still vulnerable, the Cardiffian looks at five Labour candidates who could potentially replace him as the leader of Cardiff Council.
The Grangetown councillor may not have made any obvious moves towards the leadership, but when a rebel Labour councillor spoke to us last week about the split in the Labour party, Govier was one of the names suggested as taking over the leadership. He has a strong passion for the environment and has made a good impression in Grangetown, making himself approachable and available to the residents. He is well respected within the Labour party and is probably the favourite to replace Coun Bale should the sustained pressure on his leadership continue.
The former council leader has previously stated he has no interest whatsoever in re-taking the hotseat. But that was before he made his discontent about the current leadership clear at last night’s no confidence vote. He stated that he would vote with the whip “as he has always done” but made it clear that he had no whip to protect him when he faced a motion of no confidence. He also alluded to the missed opportunity of “winning hearts and minds” at last week’s budget vote and insisted that “not a single heart or mind” would have been won with last night’s vote. Goodway may find it difficult to garner enough support from within the party but he is a proven leader and his speech at last night’s vote has opened the door for his return.
He may be the most qualified to replace Bale, and if it was not for the General Election coming up there may have been a stronger push from within the Labour party to oust Bale. The problem is that he is standing as a parliamentary candidate in Ceredigion in May. This means that if he were to take over the leadership, he would have to step down pretty sharpish if he were elected as a Labour MP. But Thomas’s chance of being elected in Ceredigion is slim, with it being a Liberal Democrat stronghold and Labour only pulling in 6% of the vote in 2010. After the General Election, it will be worth keeping a close eye on his moves towards the leadership.
Another of the names suggested, Councillor Merry has laughed off suggestions that she would be interested in replacing Bale as Council leader. But there tends to be no smoke without fire and there is no questioning Merry’s popularity within both the Labour party and her electoral ward of Cathays.
The third of the names put forward by a rebel Labour councillor, Weaver followed Merry’s suit and strenuously denied that he was looking to challenge. He laughed and said he had no interest whatsoever in taking over. But he would be suited to the job and, along with Merry, has done a good job in representing Cathays. He is the least likely to take over and seems the most content to continue on under Bale’s leadership. But stranger things have happened in politics.