Peterborough’s metro mayor denies clash after chief executive quits

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Mayor James Palmer with Martin Whiteley
Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Mayor James Palmer with Martin Whiteley
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Reports of a bust up between Peterborough’s metro mayor and the chief executive of the mayoral authority have been categorically rejected following the latter’s surprise resignation.

It was revealed on Wednesday last week that Martin Whiteley had quit the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority having been in the post for little over a year.

Mr Whiteley’s departure led to widespread rumours that the former chief had left after clashing with Mayor James Palmer, who heads the authority, but this has been completely rebuffed by the mayor’s team.

However, questions over why Mr Whiteley’s departure was kept quiet, and whether he will receive any money after leaving his £150,000 a year role, have yet to be answered.

Responding to the bust-up rumours the mayor’s chief of staff Tom Hunt told the Peterborough Telegraph yesterday: “Categorically there has not been a huge bust up.

“People will always speculate on TV and elsewhere. There’s not any more to it than that.

“Any comments made, I would argue those individuals were misinformed. There was no falling out.

“It’s an important position and we will be taking immense care with the recruitment process to identify the individual to take the organisation forward.”

The combined authority began in March 2017 as part of a devolution deal for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, with the public body given responsibility for major infrastructure and housing projects including the new University of Peterborough.

The PT contacted the mayor’s office on Monday to ask why no media release had been sent out to announce Mr Whiteley’s decision to quit, as one had been sent out to confirm his appointment.

A statement from the mayor was released on the combined authority’s website after news of Mr Whiteley’s resignation had leaked out.

The PT also asked on Monday what impact Mr Whiteley’s departure would have on the combined authority’s progress on major projects. And on Wednesday morning the PT asked if Mr Whiteley had received any money after leaving his role.

However, at the time of going to press the PT had not received responses to any of those questions. The statement on the combined authority’s website from Mayor Palmer said Mr Whiteley had “decided that the time is right to move on to new challenges”.