Former Cambridge City Council leader Lewis Herbert to replace ousted Combined Authority deputy mayor Wayne Fitzgerald
The deputy mayor of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority has been removed from the post with immediate effect, it has been revealed.
Conservative Cllr Wayne Fitzgerald said the action was taken by the Labour mayor Dr Nik Johnson and came via email early on Thursday (May 19).
Cllr Fitzgerald said the email explained he would be replaced by Labour Cllr Lewis Herbert, who was formerly leader of Cambridge City Council.
The move comes ahead of an extraordinary meeting of the Combined Authority to be held today (Friday, May 20) following a motion calling for Dr Johnson to resign or suspend himself amid a probe into his conduct.
Cllr Fitzgerald described the decision to remove him as “divisive and disgraceful”, and added: “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.”
Dr Johnson and the Combined Authority have declined to comment.
Cllr Fitzgerald was one of five Conservative members to sign 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.
This latest decision follows a whistleblowing inquiry and the resignation of chief executive Eileen Milner who quit her £203,000-a-year role last month.
Earlier this week, chair of the Combined Authority Business Board, Austen Adams, also stepped down.
A spokesperson for the Combined Authority confirmed it had received written notice of the resignation of Austen Adams as chair and as a member of the Business Board.
The spokesperson said: “Mr Adams’ resignation takes place with immediate effect.
“In accordance with the constitution of the Business Board the vice chair now assumes all responsibilities of the chair until the appointment of a permanent chair.”