Shropshire Council deputy leader: Why I've decided to step away from leadership roles


Emily Davies

A senior councillor has confirmed his intention to step down from leadership at the local elections in May.

Councillor Steve Charmley has spent two years as Shropshire Council’s deputy leader.

But despite suggestions that he would one day go for the ‘top job’, he has revealed his intention to take a step back from May.

But he will be standing again for both his Whittington division at Shropshire Council and as a Whittington parish councillor.

He said his decision is based on the pressures that come with being so high up in the authority.

In an exclusive interview with the Advertizer, Cllr Charmley said: “My future is something I have thought about since Keith Barrow stepped down.

“Things have changed. I have been involved at a senior level for eight years and after a while it does exhaust you.

“It’s not just the stress of the job, it’s a lot of responsibility.

“I’ve travelled all over the country, I have my cabinet role and I fill in for the leader. I have a young family and would like to see something of them while they are growing up.”

Cllr Charmley began his political career in local authority before the change to unitary in 2009, spending two years as a cabinet member on the former Oswestry Borough Council.

Throughout that time he has held a number of cabinet roles and been prominent in the Shropshire Conservative Party.

But in recent months he has been criticised for having one of the largest expenses on the council.

He explained that is because of the amount of travelling he does as both a cabinet member and as deputy leader.

He said many people didn’t realise what was involved in the job.

He said: “I don’t think people understand quite what is involved and what you have to do.

“I would love to get a day job and do 9-5 but you can’t do that being a cabinet member – and certainly not in a leadership role.

“When you are in a position like this, a position of authority and responsibility, it’s the responsibility more than the authority that takes its toll.

“You’ve got to push yourself forward and try these things, but it’s not for everyone.

“As deputy leader, you certainly see things you wouldn’t normally get access to and that is an experience.

“But this is the decision I have come to.”

Nevertheless, Cllr Charmley said he would consider a cabinet role if he was offered one by either Cllr Pate or whoever becomes leader following the May 4 elections.

But he said he wants to concentrate on his work in Whittington, where he lives.

He added: “I have always enjoyed doing the community stuff and I think I do a reasonably good job overall.

“I am looking to take a backwards step so I can be more involved in the community as long as I remain a councillor, which may be until May, but I hope will be longer.”

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