Government provides support to troubled combined authority

By Dan Peters | 13 May 2022

The Government is providing support to Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority (CPCA) after its chief executive quit amid a bullying probe into the mayor.

Tensions between chief executive Eileen Milner and Labour Mayor Nik Johnson have threatened to erupt for months.

In her resignation letter, seen by The MJ, Ms Milner said the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) had been ‘disappointed’ about her decision but had been ‘hugely supportive’ around her reasons for quitting.

She acknowledged leaving would have a ‘destabilising impact’ on the combined authority and told board members: ‘While it is not for me to advise you as to next steps I would encourage you to consider the ways in which you might now seek the support of DLUHC to consider how devolution can be supported to work better in our area.’

A DLUHC spokesperson confirmed it was taking an interest and providing support to the combined authority.

In a statement, the spokesperson said: ‘This is a matter for the authority but we continue to take an interest in the operation of combined authorities and provide support to the whole of the local government sector in a variety of ways.’

A ‘requisition’ calling for Mayor Johnson to ‘consider either resigning’ or ‘voluntarily suspending himself’ while investigations are ongoing is expected to be discussed at an extraordinary meeting next week.

The motion to be discussed read: ‘CPCA shall immediately send a request to DLUHC to request emergency support for the CPCA to assist the CPCA in fulfilling its legal responsibilities given that there will have been a breakdown of trust between the mayor and the board.’

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