Cllr Wai-Lee Ho
Cllr Wai-Lee Ho

The new leader of the opposition group says he hopes “tribal politics” will not prevent alternative voices being heard at Burntwood Town Council.

Cllr Wai-Lee Ho has replaced Cllr Robin Place at the helm of the town council Conservative group.

The Highfield ward representative – who also sits on Lichfield District Council – said that despite his new title, he did not want to see political allegiances at the heart of local decision-making.

“I’ve never really liked the term ‘leader of the opposition’ for a town or parish council – it is too adversarial for this level of government, where politics really shouldn’t come into play.

“My message to the Labour group are the words spoken to me at a being a councillor seminar by their current leader, who was one of the guest speakers alongside Cllr Mike Wilcox, and that’s ‘we are not the enemy – we hold the leadership to account’.

“I would add that we are also here to offer an alternative point of view and I hope that point of view isn’t blinded by tribal politics.”

Cllr Wai-Lee Ho, Burntwood Town Council

Cllr Ho also paid tribute to his predecessor.

“I would like to extend my immense gratitude to Cllr Place for his leadership of the Conservative group.

“He always encouraged us to speak our mind and vote the way we wished as individual councillors.

“It is a surprise and privilege to have been asked to take over as leader – it’s a role I hadn’t sought. That said, I am determined to work hard for Burntwood and our community.

“I look forward to working with the new chief executive Steve Lightfoot and Cllr Sue Woodward (leader of the town council) as I start settling into my new role.”

Cllr Wai-Lee Ho, Burntwood Town Council

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  1. Is this the same councillor who stayed very quiet on social media regarding the PM and #partygate and our MP’s shameful defence of him, but within hours of police investigating the Labour leader started tweeting about it? The same councillor who insists local politics is divorced from Westminster politics and people should only expect him to talk about local issues, yet happily wades in with his defence of the Government on all manner of subjects when it suits the party’s agenda? The same councillor who posted a juvenile video of himself aimed at one of his Labour opponents on the town council?

    Good luck with avoiding tribal politics councillor.

  2. Hmm… so a member of a political party, who has stood for election for said political party and represents that party as a councillor does not believe that politics should play a part in local government. What next Boris Johnson isn’t a liar? Ridiculous statement.

  3. As it happens, I ensured there was less Group control when I suddenly found myself elected Leader of Burntwood Town Council in 1999. Previously it was very party (which is what Wai-Lee means) political in those days.

    Under the current Leader that continues plus she is much more willing to engage with the other side than I ever was so let’s get rid of that straw man.

    Politial parties only exist because like-minded people get together to pursue changes that they have asked the electorate to support. With independents you don’t know what you are getting. For instance at the District Council, when we made a case for no increase in Council Tax this year one ex Conservative, now Independent, voted with us and another ex Conservative, now Independent, abstained.

    I wish Wai-Lee well in his new role and am only sorry that he missed his first meeting as Leader.

  4. @Steve – the counter argument is that with an independent you get someone who doesn’t give two figs about party politics and isn’t instructed which way to vote by a group, and who will seek to balance the sometimes competing requirements of residents and the council as a body. Someone, for example, who will actually raise issues in closed door meetings about blue bags from the residents’ perspective so the whole conversation isn’t just about protecting the council’s position. You say potato etc.

  5. I welcome Wai-Lee to his new role and look forward to working with him to create a Better Burntwood.

    Yes, I’ve tried hard to detoxify what was a dysfunctional Council prior to 2019 and include ALL members in decision-making. Ive also called upon all members to report back on issues in their own wards as “local champions”. I look forward to Wai-Lee leading his Group to take up these invitations to engage more.

  6. Councillor says decision to raise council tax for Burntwood residents is “morally wrong” – LL headline and story about Cllr Ho’s reaction.

    Conservative councillor criticises plan to send Christmas cards to all homes in Burntwood – LL headline and story about Cllr Ho.

    But, yes, Cllr Ho is absolutely right. There is absolutely no room at all for “tribal politics” at town council level.

    Another classic “do as I say, don’t do as a do” approach from a member of the political party Cllr Ho does actually represent.

  7. Sorry, I thought I did raise the issue behind closed doors – very loudly – and in fact wanted the Dual Stream Recycling Task Group to scrutinise the issue in public. I think I also raised blue bags issue a few time in public meetings too – but I am not taking all the credit for his resignation.

    I do take credit along with my then fellow Labour County Councillor, Eric Drinkwater, in stopping my own Labour Leadership at the County closing Burntwood’s household waste and recycling (you can now take Tetra Paks there) site.

    I have also raised planning issues too – something ONCE close to your heart I think but not sure since.

  8. It is a dear shame that Cllr Place who seems to have always been very moderate has gone. No one can deny that Burntwood town council has been a far less tribal council of late then even the city council. Will Cllr Ho continue this? I suspect not if you look at his Twitter history and the infamous video that was on Tik Tok. At least he won’t be boring Maybe he can tell us if Fabricant will be gracing Burntwood again this year with his wisdom from lord knows where

    I wish the new Tory leader well but I can’t see him leading a mass Tory win next year so it looks like the Labour Party will hold control, an oddity in a very Tory area. Well unless Clr Loughbrough decides to launch the chav party that is. That might be a bit below the belt

  9. @TheScribbler and @JoGrange

    I completely agree with both of you. We certainly need more independent councillors, who are divorced from the dogma of the usual 3 party system. Local politics used to be less interwoven with Westminster – and all the better for it. Now, we just seem to have a diluted (but just as toxic) form of tit-for-tat at a local level, a point which The Scribbler makes for me.

    I will be voting for whichever independent council or best represents my community at fixture elections. Party politics at a local level just doesn’t seem to work and, if you need proof of that -just look at the relationship with Fabricant and Pullen. It’s insidious.

  10. @Steve – it’s fascinating that you are so concerned about planning matters in my ward and I’d like to reassure you that they are still close to my heart. You maybe forget the proposed Indian takeaway, where I listened to my residents, called in the application and spoke to the committee resulting in a refusal, albeit unfortunately the planning inspector subsequently overturned. And you maybe weren’t aware of an application for a 2nd house to be built in a garden where I worked with residents to ensure their concerns were listened to, resulting in 2 refusals, and then 2 turned down appeals. These two are probably most noteworthy out of a longer list but as you’re clearly so interested in what I do, I can share more examples where I’ve listened to and represented my residents if you’d like.

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