Council chief's election gaffe hours after appointment

The new chief executive of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority had to backtrack a few hours after being appointed after he incorrectly said residents had voted for devolution.

Friday, 30th June 2017, 10:17 am
Updated Tuesday, 12th September 2017, 11:51 am
James Palmer and Martin Whiteley

Martin Whiteley, whose salary is £150,000, was appointed by the combined authority yesterday, but in a press release sent out shortly afterwards he was quoted as saying: “Local people voted for devolution.”

When the Peterborough Telegraph contacted the PR firm working for the combined authority to say this was factually incorrect, as councillors voted for devolution and not residents, the quote was amended to: “All eight combined authority partners voted to support devolution.”

Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough James Palmer said: “There was a vote on devolution and I’m sure he was referring to people who were in the room.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

“He is a highly experienced individual and will bring valuable skills to the combined authority as we work to bring real change to the region and bring further powers to the area from Westminster.”

Mr Whiteley, who was formerly chief executive of the Blue Marble Group, had been interim chief executive of the combined authority.

He said: “The responsibility is now ours to take that power from central government to deliver schemes, initiatives and action which will result in greater economic prosperity and quality of life for communities in the region.”