The Birmingham Post is giving the public an opportunity to quiz the next Birmingham City Council leader at an open hustings.

The five candidates, who hope to succeed Sir Albert Bore as leader of the Labour-run council, will appear at the CBSO Centre in Berkley Street on November 19 at an event organised by Post publisher BPM Media.

Birmingham's 78 Labour councillors will meet in private to elect their next leader in a secret ballot on November 23 and the winner will formally take over as leader of Britain's largest local authority on December 1.

But, after coming under fire for ignoring the people of the city, the Labour group has agreed to allow the five candidates to appear in public at two events next week at which they will be expected to outline their vision for the city and open themselves up to questions.

Although the citizens will not have a direct say in the appointment, the candidates are now open to public scrutiny.

Marc Reeves, editor-in-chief of BPM Media, said the process of appointing a new leader for the city was strengthened by the hustings event.

He added: "I think it is great the Labour party is opening up the election of their new group leader to the Birmingham Post.

"It is really important the candidates have their opportunity to share their vision for Birmingham with as many people as possible."

The hustings event will represent a rare opportunity to grill candidates John Clancy, Barry Henley, Penny Holbrook, Mike Leddy and Ian Ward.

Citizens are welcome to attend from 6pm with the event starting at 6.30pm. Details of how to register for the event will be published on the Birmingham Post website in due course.


John Clancy (Quinton - first elected 2002)

Has challenged Sir Albert on four occasions since 2011 and received nearly 40 per cent of the vote in May.

Although always campaigning, he formally launched his latest bid with an email to colleagues calling on them to remove Coun Bore and his deputy Coun Ward.

He has written a book on using council pension funds to back local business and build housing.

Barry Henley (Brandwood - first elected 2005)

Boasts of considerable private sector management experience, senior positions in the Midlands health service and has experience running the council's joint venture companies Service Birmingham and Acivico.

Recently married and launched his campaign from his honeymoon in Malta.

Seen as very much an outsider.

Penny Holbrook (Stockland Green - first elected 2003)

Cabinet member for culture and skills and has dealt well with difficult job of fronting cuts to the Library of Birmingham.

She was the last candidate to come forward and has drawn heavily on her experience running council services for the Erdington district which was seen as the benchmark for the city on community engagement and partnership working.

Mike Leddy (Brandwood - first elected 1995)

With experience in industry, was previously a cabinet member for transport during the early-2000s and most recently served as Lord Mayor in 2013/14.

Portrayed himself as a unity candidate, broadly liked by all factions, but others claim he made some enemies while serving as chief whip.

Ian Ward (Shard End - first elected 1995)

The current deputy leader who looked like leader in waiting when he opened the Library of Birmingham in 2013 but has more recently had a strained relationship with Sir Albert.

He allegedly considered a leadership challenge in May only to withdraw, disappointing colleagues.

Is banking on his experience of the panel appointed to oversee the improvement of the council to see him through.