The deputy leader of Birmingham City Council’s Conservative group is to resign after just a year in office.
Philip Parkin said his mind was made up well in advance of last week’s local elections and had nothing to do with the Tories’ disastrous performance, which saw the party lose six seats to Labour.
Coun Parkin (Con Sutton Trinity) added that he had not anticipated the amount of additional work the job would entail and he needed to spend more time helping to run his family engineering business.
He is also one of a handful of Tory councillors who will campaign for Birmingham to have a directly elected mayor and he did not believe it was right to hold a senior office given that most of his colleagues are opposed to the idea.
Coun Parkin said: “I have to make a living outside of the council. Being deputy leader doesn’t involve a huge number of additional meetings but there is a lot of work to do behind the scenes and it all adds up.
“And with the referendum on whether Birmingham should have a mayor coming up, I wouldn’t feel comfortable as deputy leader arguing the case for an elected mayor given that most of the group are against.”
When elected Coun Parkin was regarded as a unifying force who would help patch over serious differences between backbenchers and the cabinet.
He vowed to improve relationships between ordinary group members and council leader Mike Whitby.
His job is likely to be taken by another backbencher, 28-year-old Tory councillor Robert Alden.
Coun Alden (Con Erdington) is the only declared candidate so far for the deputy leadership, which will be decided at the annual group meeting on May 23.
His nomination papers have been signed by Conservative group and council leader Mike Whitby, an indication that the party’s most senior figures are keen to bring on board more youthful and vibrant figures.
Coun Alden helped mastermind an offensive Tory local election campaign in Kingstanding which saw a nine per cent swing from Labour to the Conservative candidate – one of the very few examples of positive news for the Conservatives at this year’s elections.
He is promising to “bring a new perspective from the backbenches” and will be urging his colleagues to unite and put any differences behind them.
Coun Alden added: “Obviously we had some disappointing election results.
“We have to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves down by learning from where we made mistakes.
“As we have shown in Erdington, through hard work and getting out campaigning you really can buck the trend.
“We need to instil this throughout the group.”