Mansfield MP Ben Bradley describes new role as county council leader as 'unique opportunity' for people of the district
Mansfield MP Ben Bradley says his new role as Nottinghamshire County Council is a ‘unique opportunity’ for the voices of people in the district and the county to be heard in Westminster.
Mr Bradley was controversially elected leader in a meeting on Monday after storming to victory by winning the Mansfield North seat following county council elections last week.
He has come under fire from both Labour and Ashfield Independent politicians, who claim that both roles would require his full-time commitment, and that voters would ultimately suffer as he tries to balance the two – as well as his councillor commitments to Mansfield North.
But speaking on BBC Radio Nottingham, Mr Bradley said: “I actually think the two jobs are really beneficial and a huge opportunity.
"There’s no other county council in the country that has the ability we have in Mansfield and across Nottinghamshire, to take our issues down to Westminster, to knock on ministers’ doors and to make that case, and I think that’s an opportunity we should make the most of.”
Mr Bradley, who was first elected as Mansfield MP in 2017 under Theresa May’s Tory Government, said he is not the only Member of Parliament doing ‘full-on other roles’.
He said: “It’s not unprecedented in the sense that MPs are also MSPs (Members of the Scottish Parliament), there are MPs who are also Metro mayors, and there are also 100 MPs who are ministers in Government and, as you can imagine, Matt Hancock is a constituency MP and also running a £300bn Government Department, which is also a pretty full-on other role, so it’s not unusual from that perspective.
“In my mind, all I am doing, rather than trying to climb the career ladder in Westminster, my commitment is to residents in Nottinghamshire, and I’ll spend my time here trying to deliver better services.”
When asked if he would step down as MP if both roles proved too much, he said: “Three years is a long time, or two years until the next election, and I think we can make really huge strides by working together across these roles, bringing national and local government together, and working with the Conservative majority administration and the full slate of Conservative MPs we now have in Nottinghamshire.
“I’m not ruling out anything like that, but I think we have to see how it goes, and if it doesn’t work I will be the first to hold my hands up and say so, but I want to make the most of the opportunity as it stands to get things done.”
Earlier, a statement issued from local Labour Party activists, expressed ‘deep concern’ over the move, and questioning how he will be able to represent Mansfield in Parliament and lead the county council, when both roles would require the full attention of the holder.
“In the end, it is the people of Mansfield and Warsop that will miss out and Ben Bradley who will gain, but we stand ready with residents to oppose anything that will disadvantage Mansfield and Warsop,” said a statement from Labour.