Arrests, infighting and elections: how 2021 has been a turbulent year for West Midlands politics

Coronavirus led to unusual election tally in 2021

As local authorities relied on government handouts to protect services amid the Covid crisis, the horizon was clouded by internal political struggles, scandals and disgraced advisers dragged to court.

The Tories won more than 30 seats in the Black Country – including 12 in Dudley – and took over the Cannock Chase Council after winning nine of the 10 seats up for grabs.

The election saw blue representation on Sandwell Council for the first time in six years, with the Tories now holding 10 seats.

An unfortunate pose for Rajbir Singh who had left as head of the council a few weeks after this photo was taken

His disastrous reign will be best remembered for a still unresolved scandal over a £ 20million school bus contract, strikes by garbage and leisure workers and now abandoned plans to shut down Walker Grange care home.

She hopes calmer waters are on the horizon, with another elimination of supporters of former deputy leader Mahboob Hussain ahead of the local elections next May.

The authority is also hoping to appoint a new chief executive as part of plans to end the game of musical chairs in the ranks of its senior officers, which is currently filled with “interim” reserved spaces.

David Fisher, up front, was celebrating the Conservatives’ wins in the local election at Sandwell, but then stepped down as group leader.

In Walsall, we were treated to the rare spectacle of a by-election where the winner was unable to take a seat on the board.

The seat will remain vacant until next May, as angry Tory Council leader Mike Bird has called on Labor to raise the cost by £ 20,000 to hold the poll.

Ian Brookfield, Head of Wolverhampton Council, celebrates continued control of council in local elections

Wolverhampton Labor is facing the fallout from a botched attempt to oust one of its advisers, which has sparked a call for council chief Ian Brookfield to resign.

Meanwhile, since August, the potential destruction of the Green Belt across the Black Country and South Staffordshire has been a major topic of discussion.

Plans have been unveiled for thousands of new homes on green sites across the four boroughs and the district, sparking a wave of protests from residents.

Union Councilor Sean Coughlan celebrates the election in Walsall. He would later be arrested on suspicion of sexual offenses against children

As they attacked local authorities, councils accused ministers of setting housing targets too high. Expect the blame game to continue into the New Year.

The year also saw senior Labor advisers mired in legal scandals.

Tory Andy Street comfortably stood up to Liam Byrne’s challenge in the West Midlands mayor election

Meanwhile, the region has a new Police and Crime Commissioner to oversee law and order, after Simon Foster was elected to succeed fellow Labor colleague David Jamieson in May.

The transition has gone smoothly, with Mr Foster continuing his predecessor’s tactic of blaming the rise in crime on budget cuts.

He also sparked anger after criticizing the arrests and searches and announcing the closure of more than 20 police stations and bases.

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