A WARRINGTON Borough Council cabinet member has been ‘dismissed’ while another has resigned.

The changes have seen Cllr Hitesh Patel, who was the cabinet member for environment and public protection, be replaced by Cllr John Kerr-Brown – with Cllr Tom Jennings, who was the cabinet member for economic development and innovation, replaced by Cllr Nathan Sudworth.

Cllr Hans Mundry secured victory over Cllr Patel in the contest to become the new council leader following a vote at a Labour group meeting in November – which came after former leader Cllr Russ Bowden confirmed he would not be standing for re-election in May.


In an open letter posted on X, formerly Twitter, Cllr Patel, said that after the cabinet meeting last Monday, Cllr Mundry ‘dismissed me from the cabinet because, in his words, ‘it’s not working for me’.

In the letter, he said: “Whilst we undoubtedly have very different skill sets, leadership experience, and communication styles, I have never seen Hans as a political rival.

“That is why, during the leadership contest, I was unequivocal with people that the only person I would guarantee a cabinet position for, was Hans. I respect his experience and would never punish someone for stepping up, in an open election, to seek the support of their peers to become group leader and serve their town.

“After the result, I made it absolutely clear that he had my full support and that I would not put myself forward for group leader again.

“This is something I know Hans communicated to other cabinet members individually.”

Cllr Patel also said ‘I am proud of my record’ in cabinet.


He said through the ‘nuanced and astute local insights of council colleagues, together, we have delivered policies that make a real difference to people’.

Furthermore, he stated ‘I wish my successor similar successes’.

He added: “My only observation is that this will result in a cabinet bereft of people of colour whilst all key positions in the cabinet and committees, and thus the hegemony of the group, are dominated by men. The Labour Party should look like the communities it seeks to serve and I believe we now are contravening that imperative; consequently, not only failing to follow both the spirit and letter of our own rule book but inviting opposition parties to call us out for discriminating against non-white, non-male members, so soon after we raised concerns over similar behaviour.

“Good leaders value everyone’s contribution and talent regardless of personal differences, and our wider group is full of diverse talent; Siobhan, Sagheer, Laura, Una, Mo, to name but a few.

“Our party is built on the pillars of fairness, equality and public service. They were central to my leadership pitch and will continue to drive my work as a councillor for Great Sankey North.

“I remain committed to the Labour Party and look forward to supporting colleagues to showcase their diverse skills, experience and successes to ensure we return a Labour administration in May and we have the greatest possible diversity in all key roles, regardless of grace and favour.”

A Labour source said the letter from Cllr Patel has ‘caused a lot of annoyance and anger in the Labour group’ – and added that the Labour group is ‘strongly backing’ Cllr Mundry as leader.

Meanwhile, in an open letter also posted on X, formerly Twitter, Cllr Jennings, confirmed his decision to resign from the cabinet after last Monday’s meeting.

He said: “Just over three years ago, I advocated for the new role of cabinet member for economic development and innovation, recognising the need for Warrington’s business community to have a louder voice and for the council to spearhead growth in our local economy post-COVID.

“Whilst I appreciated your offer in December to continue to serve in cabinet until May, I am writing to inform you of my decision to resign from the cabinet after tonight’s meeting.”


Cllr Jennings said ‘I take immense pride in the rapid progress achieved’ in the role since November 2020.

He also stated that, as the first individual to ‘hold and shape this position’, he hopes his efforts have set a ‘positive precedent’.

He added: “Across a range of economic and other metrics, Warrington is outperforming many of our statistical and geographical neighbours, as evidenced in the Cities Outlook 2024 report.

“As a born and bred Warringtonian, it’s been a privilege as a cabinet member to play my part in making my hometown one of the best places in the country to live, study, work and invest in.

“I thank my council colleagues, officers, and our strategic partners for their guidance and collaboration over the last three years, and look forward to focusing more time on my ward.”