New Peterborough Labour leader to hold Tories to account

Councillor Mohammed Jamil
Councillor Mohammed Jamil
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Labour’s new group leader in Peterborough has pledged to hold the ruling Conservative party to account.

Councillor Mohammed Jamil took over as group leader from his fellow Central Ward cllr Nazim Khan at a meeting of the Peterborough Labour party last night (Wednesday).

I want to be looking to work for the good of Peterborough, and not for the council to be looking to score points off each other.”

Cllr Mohammed Jamil

Cllr Jamil, who has sat on Peterborough City Council since 2010, said he was delighted to take over as leader of the second biggest party on the council.

He said: “Cllr Khan approached me before the election saying he wanted to stand down as leader, and asked me to consider the role.

“I wanted to wait until after the election, and would only do it if I had the support of me colleagues.

“At the meeting last night I had the overwhelming support of my fellow members, and I am delighted they have faith in me. I will hopefully be able to repay their faith.

“It will be a big challenge. We have 12 members, and are part of an opposition who do not always agree on what to oppose and what not to.

“I want to be looking to work for the good of Peterborough, and not for the council to be looking to score points off each other.”

Cllr Jamil is the second new group leader on the city council, after cllr John Holdich took over the Conservative party following Marco Cereste’s election defeat.

Cllr Jamil said: “It is a new era for Peterborough City Council. While Marco was a strong leader, I am hoping cllr Holdich will come up with a different type of approach, with his different personality.

“I am hoping he will be more willing to listen.

“I would like to see a different structure for the council - I would prefer to see a committee system, rather than the cabinet system, so all the council get to have a say on what happens, rather than just the 12 on the cabinet.

“Scrutiny will be vital, and we want to hold the council to account.

There has been talk of the opposition groups, including independents and Labour putting a challenge to become council leader, with Labour councillor Ed Murphy saying he would support a plan.

But cllr Jamil said: “It is a numbers game. The Conservatives have 26 councillors, and we have such a diverse opposition. I think it will be more of looking at items on a topic by topic basis with our colleagues. But I would not rule anything out.”

At last night’s meeting cllr Lisa Forbes was elected as deputy leader, cllr John Shearman as chairman and cllr Richard Ferris as secretary.