Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council

  1. When to expect local results to be declared

    Eight councils are expected to declare their results tonight in the West Midlands with a further six counting during the day on Friday.

    Counting in Sandwell tonight

    We have rough estimated declaration times for those authorities which is when we expect to be able to tell if control of the councils has changed or if one party has strengthened their grip or suffered losses.

    Tonight:

    • Tamworth - estimated result declaration: 02:00
    • Worcester - estimated result declaration: 02:00
    • Redditch - estimated result declaration: 02:30
    • Sandwell - estimated result declaration: 03:00
    • Wolverhampton - estimated result declaration: 03:30
    • Nuneaton and Bedworth - estimated result declaration: 04:00
    • Dudley - estimated result declaration: 04:30
    • Coventry - estimated result declaration: 05:00

    On Friday:

    • Solihull - estimated result declaration: 13:00
    • Cannock Chase - estimated result declaration: 13:00
    • Walsall - estimated result declaration: 13:30
    • Rugby - estimated result declaration: 16:00
    • Newcastle-under-Lyme - estimated result declaration: 17:30
    • Birmingham - estimated result declaration: 18:00
  2. Councillors walk out after deputy mayor nomination blocked

    BBC Radio WM

    Labour councillors have walked out of a meeting in Walsall after Conservatives blocked their nomination for deputy mayor citing his mental health as one of their reasons.

    Sean Coughlan

    Sean Coughlan said he tried to take his own life in 2019 after dealing with the pressures of government cuts and the liquidation of a community association which he managed.

    Mr Coughlan had been selected to replace Harbans Sarohi, who died suddenly in May, and said he was feeling better and ready for the role following treatment for depression.

    But ahead of the meeting, Conservative councillors said they intended to vote against him.

    Tory council leader Mike Bird said he and his party colleagues had been accused by councillor Coughlan of pushing him towards suicide and did not want to be in that position again.

    Labour leader Aftab Nawaz said the decision to block him from taking up the civic role was a vote against people with mental health problems and led his group out of the town hall.

    As no alternative nomination was put forward, the issue of choosing a new deputy mayor was deferred.

  3. Deputy mayor 'served his ward exceptionally'

    Tributes have been paid to Walsall's deputy mayor, Harbans Singh Sarohi, who has died following a heart attack.

    Harbans Sarohi

    Mr Sarohi had been a Labour councillor for the Pleck ward since May 2000 and was due to become the town's mayor next year, which would have made him the first Sikh to hold the role. He was in his early 80s.

    Walsall South MP Valerie Vaz, Labour, described him as "a dedicated councillor... a true gentleman in politics", adding that he "served his ward exceptionally".

    His death was announced by Walsall's Labour Group, with leader Aftab Nawaz remembering him as "a very dignified person and really principled man".

    Mr Nawaz said of his colleague: “He was a very proud, loving and caring family man and lived his life in a truly humanitarian way where he helped many people. He was a kind, sensitive human being."

  4. BreakingWalsall remains blue

    The Conservatives have held on to power in Walsall, making five gains.

    There were 22 seats up for election this time and the Independents gained one seat.

    Labour lost three seats and the Lib Dems lost two.

    That means the Conservatives have stretched their majority from two to 12.

  5. Pandemic pay rise for Walsall Council staff

    Local Democracy Reporting Service

    Council staff in Walsall are to get a 1% pay rise as a thank you for their efforts during the Covid-19 pandemic.

    From 1 April, the lowest pay grade will go up from £17,665 to £17,842, the authority, which has set aside just over £1m to cover the costs, says.

    The decision, which does not include education staff who are directly employed by schools under the academy status, follows a move to increase councillor allowances.

    Walsall Council

    Mike Bird, leader of the Conservative-run council, said "the time had come" to acknowledge the work done by councillors and council staff.

    "It has been extremely difficult and continues to be so to work from home. It isn’t as easy as people would think," he said.

    Labour group leader, Aftab Nawaz, added: "During this real hard time, we’ve seen our staff go far above and beyond what they’ve done before.

    "They sometimes aren’t given the recognition that they should be by the public."