Former Birmingham City Council leader John Clancy was accused by his successor of making a “factually incorrect” statement on the bins dispute.
Interim leader Ian Ward and cabinet member Stewart Stacey both publicly distanced themselves from an official answer given by Cllr Clancy in the hours before he resigned on Monday.
Cllr Ward ( Shard End ) also promised to be as ‘honest, open and transparent’ as possible and devote himself and senior colleagues to resolving the bins dispute.
It was a remarkable council question time session, with Cllr Ward and his cabinet bombarded with questions over the aborted deal struck between Cllr Clancy and the bin men’s union Unite last month.
A written question by Cllr Zaker Choudhry (Lib Dem, South Yardley) had asked Cllr Clancy which cabinet members were involved in agreeing the deal with Unite.
Cllr Clancy replied: “Every cabinet member was involved in reaching the agreement in principle.”
Cllr Ward told the chamber: “As far as I’m concerned that answer is factually incorrect.”
His Labour cabinet colleague Cllr Stacey agreed, pointing out he was out of touch holiday in Spain so could not have agreed.
In further answers it became clear that members of the cabinet had not agreed the deal and urged Cllr Clancy against it.
Cllr Ward said: “I very much regret events of recent weeks. I regret these events mean the previous leader found himself in an untenable position and had to resign.
“He also delivered in the last two years much that was positive and moved the city forward.”
And he also urged Unite union boss Howard Beckett to stop calling for the resignation of council chief executive Stella Manzie.
“Let me be crystal clear, the continual calls for the resignation of the chief executive are wholly inappropriate.
“It is also a fact of the matter that continuing to make such calls will make resolution of the dispute harder to obtain.”
He pledged to take part in talks in a proper and meaningful way and that all cabinet decisions would be taken at formal meetings.