Shock as councillor stands down as deputy mayor of combined authority

STOOD DOWN: Cllr Robin Howe

STOOD DOWN: Cllr Robin Howe - Credit: Archant

Huntingdonshire District Council’s former leader Cllr Robin Howe has stepped down as a deputy mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority.

The move follows Cllr Howe’s shock resignation as a cabinet member at the district council - which meant he could no longer continue as deputy mayor.

Cllr Howe, who represents Upwood and the Raveleys, said his resignation was a “private matter” and was not prepared to expand on his reasons for leaving the cabinet.

He said he would continue to serve as a district councillor and was considering standing for election again next year but had not made up his mind whether to do so.

Cllr Howe, who held the devolution and growth portfolio on the district council, had been its leader but stepped down in June after the launch of the Combined Authority and his appointment as a deputy mayor by Mayor James Palmer.

The Combined Authority, which came into being earlier this year, was set up to provide a more devolved government system, taking on some of the powers of central government, and has representatives of local councils on it.

Cllr Howe will be replaced on the board by the man who took over from him as district council leader, Cllr Graham Bull.

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A new deputy mayor has not yet been appointed by Mayor Palmer.

Mayor Palmer said: “Within a short period of time, as my deputy, Robin made a significant contribution towards the work the Combined Authority and I am sorry to see him go.

“In particular, Robin can be immensely proud of the significant role that he played putting together Cambridgeshire and Peterborough’s first independent economic commission, that when it reports, will set out our industrial strategy for the future.”

Mayor Palmer said: “As Huntingdonshire’s representative, Robin can also be proud of the role that he has played in developing proposals for a new master plan for a St Neots, a plan that will bring almost £6 million of investment to the town over the next few years.

“I welcome Councillor Graham Bull, leader of Huntingdonshire District Council to the Combined Authority Board, I am sure he will provide another strong voice for Huntingdonshire.”

Cllr Howe told the Hunts Post: “I am standing down as a cabinet member of Huntingdonshire District Council, although I am staying on as a district councillor.

“My resignation means I am no longer able to be on the combined authority.”

Cllr Howe said he stood down as district council leader in June because he felt it was incompatible with being on the combined authority.

He said Mayor Palmer was an “inspiring leader” who would be able to take Cambridgeshire and Peterborough forwards.

Cllr Bull could not be contacted but he sent a message to district council colleagues saying: “This is just to let you know that Robin Howe has left the cabinet. With immediate effect I will take on the council’s seat on the combined authority.”