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Opposition group leader “disappointed” as all-male Cabinet is named at Lichfield District Council

The leader of the opposition group at Lichfield District Council says she is “disappointed” after an all-male Cabinet was appointed.

Cllr Mike Wilcox unveiled his leadership team at a full meeting of the local authority earlier this month, with the previous eight-strong group reduced to six.

The leader of the council said: “I am confident that our new Cabinet has a wealth of talent and experience.”

But with previous Cabinet member Cllr Helen Fisher not taking up a role this time around, the group is now completely made up of men, despite a third of the 42-strong controlling Conservative group being female.

Sue Woodward

Cllr Sue Woodward

Labour’s leader Cllr Sue Woodward said the decision was a blow to equality.

“I’m disappointed, as the leader knows,” she said. “But I hope he will redress the situation as soon as possible.

“Too often you hear the tired old comment that ‘the best people’ are chosen, regardless of gender. It’s usually a man saying this and a man who is setting the criteria. It fails to take account of the different skills, experiences and perspectives that women can bring to the debate.

“The need to improve women’s representation at all levels in councils is too easily and too often dismissed as “political correctness gone mad”. It’s not. It’s about respect for equality and respect for the 52% of the electorate that we represent.”

Although she was disappointed at the apparent gender imbalance at the top table, Cllr Woodward said the smaller Cabinet was a positive move.

“I’m glad that the number of Cabinet members has reduced as the Labour group argued against the increase in numbers last year at a time when council services are reducing,” she said.

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