Government of Birmingham

Government of Birmingham

"shown within West Midlands"

This page is about the Government of Birmingham, England.

Civic history

Most of Birmingham was historically a part of Warwickshire, though the modern city also includes villages and towns historically in Staffordshire or Worcestershire.

Until the 1760s, Birmingham was administered by manorial and parish officials, most of whom served on a part-time and honorary basis. By the 1760s the population growth of Birmingham made this system completely inadequate, and salaried officials were needed. In 1768, a body of "Commissioners of the Streets" was established who had powers to levy a rate for functions such as cleaning and street lighting. They were later given powers to provide policing and build public buildings.

The Reform Act of 1832 gave Birmingham its first representation in Parliament initially with only two MPs but this has been gradually expanded.

Birmingham gained the status of a municipal borough in 1838 and gained its first elected town council which took over the functions of the Street Commissioners. In 1889, it became a county borough (unitary authority) and a city. This remained unchanged until 1974 when Birmingham became a metropolitan district of the newly-created West Midlands county under the West Midlands County Council. The county council was abolished in 1986 and Birmingham effectively reverted to being a unitary authority although sharing some services with other authorities in the county.

Local government

Birmingham City Council

Birmingham City Council is the largest local authority in Europe with, following a reorganisation of boundaries in June 2004, 120 Birmingham City Councillors representing just under one million people, in 40 wards. The council headquarters are based at the Council House in the city centre.

Birmingham City Council is a unitary authority responsible for running nearly all local services, with the exception of those run by joint boards as detailed below. The provision of certain services has in recent years been devolved to several Districts, which each have an area committee made up of councillors from that district.

Political control

The council was run by a Labour administration between 1984 and 2004, with Sir Dick Knowles as Council Leader from 1984 to 1993, followed in turn by Theresa Stewart and Sir Albert Bore. They lost overall control in 2003 but continued to run the council as a minority administration for the following year. At the election of 10 June 2004, the 120 seats were divided between the Labour, (53 councillors), Conservative (39) and Liberal Democrat (28) parties. The Conservative and Liberal Democrat groups then formed a governing coalition, moving Labour into opposition.

By-elections and defections in 2005 altered the distribution of seats within the council with Labour holding 46 seats, Conservatives holding 40, Liberal Democrats holding 30, the People's Justice Party holding 2 and independent councillors holding a further 2. In 2006, the People's Justice Party disbanded, with their two councillors joining the Liberal Democrats, and Councillor Ann Holtom defected from Labour to the Liberal Democrats.

After the local elections on 1 May 2008, there remains no overall control, with the 120 seats being divided between the Conservative (49 councillors), Labour, (36), Liberal Democrat (32) parties and Respect (3). [ [ Birmingham City Council election service]]

In the 2006 local elections the British National Party initially gained a seat, but it soon transpired their candidate's election had been caused by a counting error and the result was subsequently overturned in favour of the previously third-placed Labour party candidate following an election petition. [ [ BNP never won seat on city council, The Birmingham Post, Jul 27 2006] ]

The leader of the council is Conservative group leader Mike Whitby. Lib Dem group leader Paul Tilsley is Deputy Leader.

The Conservatives' main local strongholds are in the Sutton Coldfield and Edgbaston districts.


Following the June 2004 reorganisation, Birmingham's 40 wards are:
*Acocks Green, Aston
*Bartley Green, Billesley, Bordesley Green, Bournville, Brandwood
*Edgbaston, Erdington
*Hall Green, Handsworth Wood, Harborne, Hodge Hill
*Kings Norton, Kingstanding
*Ladywood, Longbridge, Lozells and East Handsworth
*Moseley and Kings Heath
*Nechells, Northfield
*Perry Barr
*Selly Oak, Shard End, Sheldon, Soho, South Yardley, Sparkbrook, Springfield, Stechford and Yardley North, Stockland Green, Sutton Four Oaks, Sutton New Hall, Sutton Trinity, Sutton Vesey
*Washwood Heath, Weoley

Council constituencies

From 5 April 2004, responsibility and budgets for a number of services were devolved to 11 district committees, as part of a growing trend in the UK to use area committees for large councils. From 1 June 2006 the districts were reduced from 11 to 10 in order to correspond with the revised Westminster constituency boundaries, and renamed "council constituencies". Each now comprises four wards. The council constituencies are:

*Hall Green
*Hodge Hill
*Perry Barr
*Selly Oak
*Sutton Coldfield


Birmingham is unparished, apart from New Frankley, its only civil parish, which was established in 2000 in an area transferred from Bromsgrove in 1995, and which had previously been part of the Frankley parish.


Other local government bodies or organisations which affect Birmingham include:

Joint county-wide services

Some local services which cover Birmingham are run jointly with the six other authorities in the West Midlands county. These county wide services are:

*West Midlands Police
*West Midlands Fire Service
*West Midlands Passenger Transport Executive, better known as Centro, which oversees public transport.

Regional assembly

The West Midlands Regional Assembly which covers Birmingham, is the assembly for the West Midlands region. It has a limited administrative role, such as strategic regional planning.

At Westminster

Birmingham first had an MP, George Fredrick Muntz, in 1840.

Birmingham's eleven parliamentary constituencies (to be reduced to ten at the next general election) are represented in the House of Commons by one Conservative, one Liberal Democrat and nine Labour MPs.

1Birmingham, EdgbastonGisela StuartLabour
2Birmingham, ErdingtonSiôn SimonLabour
3Birmingham, Hall GreenStephen James McCabeLabour
4Birmingham, Hodge HillLiam ByrneLabour
5Birmingham, LadywoodClare ShortLabour
6Birmingham, NorthfieldRichard BurdenLabour
7Birmingham, Perry BarrKhalid MahmoodLabour
8Birmingham, Selly OakDr Lynne JonesLabour
9Birmingham, Sparkbrook and Small HeathRoger GodsiffLabour
10Sutton ColdfieldAndrew MitchellConservative
11Birmingham, YardleyJohn HemmingLib-Dem


External links

* [ Birmingham City Council]
* [ Council Constituency Committees]
* [ Birmingham Conservatives]
* [ Birmingham Liberal Democrats]

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