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Sheffield Labour leader selected after carve-up between councillors

Councillor Terry Fox has been selected as the new leader of Sheffield's Labour group, less than 24 hours after Council Leader Bob Johnson lost his seat.

Terry fox

Councillor Terry Fox in 2019.

Sheffield City Council.

Councillor Terry Fox has been chosen as the new leader of Sheffield's Labour group, following a secret vote between just 41 councillors.

Fox, who has been the Deputy Leader of the Council since 2019, could become the next Council Leader if Labour form a minority administration or a coalition with the Lib Dems or Greens.

He was selected by a secret ballot of Labour councillors less than a day after group leader Bob Johnson lost his Hillsborough seat in a shock victory for the Greens.

"It's not been our best day, I think we can admit that," Fox told the BBC yesterday. "We're going to go away and regroup and then we'll come back fighting again tomorrow."

Tens of thousands of Labour members in Sheffield have had no say in the decision. At 10am this morning, 58 local members wrote an open letter to the party's ruling body requesting an all-member ballot.

"We will need to begin the process of rebuilding trust in Labour in our city, which must mean a new way of leading," reads the letter.

"With Bob Johnson losing control of the Council and his seat so soon after being elected Leader, there is a need for a period of reflection about the reasons for this loss."

Fox received 25 votes in the ballot and fellow cabinet veteran Cllr Jack Scott received 11 votes. Cllr Francyne Johnson, who is seen as part of the left-wing of the group, received five votes.

Now Then understands that both Fox and fellow cabinet member Cllr Mazher Iqbal floated the idea of forming a coalition with the single Conservative councillor elected yesterday at the meeting.

This would give them exactly half the seats on the council, but would be one short of an overall majority.

A vote for change in the Governance Referendum, the results of which are due to be announced on Monday, could change the setup of any coalition or agreement between the parties.

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