The deputy mayor of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority (CPCA) has revealed that he has been removed from office.
Peterborough councillor Fitzgerald said he received the email from the Mayor Dr Nik Johnson confirming the decision with immediate effect, replacing him with Cambridge Labour councillor Lewis Herbert, who was formerly leader of Cambridge City Council.
Councillor Fitzgerald described the decision as "divisive and disgraceful".
“I do not want to say too much at this time but I will add that Metro Mayor Johnson is fully aware I would’ve been in a position to properly chair the extraordinary meeting," he said.
Metro Mayor Johnson and the CPCA have declined to comment.
The move comes ahead of an extraordinary meeting of the authority today (May 20) to discuss a motion that had demanded the resignation of Dr Johnson.
Councillor Fitzgerald was one of five Conservative movers of the motion and, as a deputy mayor, would have been expected to chair the meeting.
He would also have been able to cast any deciding vote in the decision making process.
Councillor Fitzgerald’s removal comes amid an ongoing row among Combined Authority members following the recent resignation of its chief executive Eileen Milner, who only took up her £200,000 a year job in January 2022, and the resignation earlier this week of the Chair of the CPCA Business Board, Austen Adams.
Councillor Fitzgerald’s removal means the meeting will now be chaired by the new deputy mayor councillor Lewis Herbert.
Mayor Johnson has also replaced outgoing Board member, Conservative, Ryan Johnson who was not re-elected at the recent local elections, with Lib Dem councillor Lucy Nethsingha, who is leader of Cambridgeshire County Council.