Paul Tilsley

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Paul Tilsley
Cllr Paul Tilsley crop.jpg
Born Birmingham
Alma mater University of Central England
Occupation Deputy leader, birmingham city council (2005– May 2012)
Years active 1968–present
Organization Liberal Democrats
Known for Lord Mayor of Birmingham, later Deputy Leader of Birmingham City Council
Children two sons and one daughter

Paul Tilsley CBE is a British local politician. He was deputy leader of Birmingham City Council and the senior Liberal Democrat in the council's ruling Liberal Democrat–Conservative coalition.[1] As of 2016, he is the council's longest-serving member,[2] and was previously Lord Mayor of Birmingham, in 1993–4.

As a councillor, he represents the ward of Sheldon,[1] and was previously a councillor in Aston ward.[1] He was Chairman of the Birmingham Strategic Partnership from October 2005 until May 2012.

In January 2016, he announced his decision to stand down as leader of the council's Lib Dem group, a position held since June 2005, but to remain a back bencher.[2]

Following the untimely death in March 2017 of Cllr Ray Hassall, who was Deputy Lord Mayor, Tilsley was elected by the Council to complete his term of office.


Paul Tilsley studied at University of Central England, now renamed Birmingham City University, gaining a BA (Hons) in Government, then going on to study for a Master of Business Administration (MBA), graduating prior to becoming the 2nd Chancellor of the University, from 1993 to 1994, a position that is held when Lord Mayor of the City of Birmingham. In his early life he struggled with education, Primary school was difficult for him as he was allergic to chalk dust and up until the introduction of ink pots in year 6 his health suffered as a result. However he did manage to overcome these difficulties.


Tilsley worked in the fresh food industry as a senior manager for a number of years, before spending the last 25 years of active employment in the voluntary sector as a senior manager, with the last 7 years as Chief executive of West Midlands European Network, before taking early retirement to concentrate on the increasing Council, regional, national and international work load.

He was Chairman of the Birmingham Strategic Partnership from 2005 until May 2012, Birmingham's representative on UK Core Cities for the same period, Chairman of Euro Cities Social Affairs Forum.

He was responsible for placing Birmingham as one of the UK's leading cities on the Sustainability and Environmental Agenda, speaking at a number of Conferences both in the UK and in Europe on this issue.[3]

From May 2005 until May 2012 he was Chairman of Digital Birmingham which brought together both public and private sector partners in driving forward the Digital Agenda to make Birmingham a leading "edge" City. One of his major achievements was to Champion the modernisation of Birmingham City Councils IT system, which has seen a wholesale change in the way that the Council conducts its business, and communicates and does business with its 1,000,000 citizens.[3]

Tilsley's contribution to modernising the IT system was recognised when he was awarded an Honors Laureate Award by CW (ComputerWorld) at a prestigious event in Washington DC in June 2010.


Tilsley fought the safe Labour Ward of Aston in 1967 as a Liberal, coming 3rd, the following year he won with over 50% of the vote winning the Ward from Labour for the first time for over 40 years. He continued to hold the seat until 1982. He was then elected for Sheldon Ward in 1988, re-elected in 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2007, 2011 and 2015 with a majority of 1750. Tilsley stood in May 2018 for the re-organised City Council in the new Sheldon Ward, topping the poll with over 60% of the votes, celebrating 50 years since first elected.

He also represented Aston on the West Midlands County Council from 1973 until its abolition in 1986, where he was Liberal Group Leader.

In May 1993, he was elected as Lord Mayor of Birmingham, the first Liberal/Liberal Democrat to hold the Office since William Adlington Cadbury in 1921. He was also the youngest Lord Mayor of Birmingham since 1947, a record that he was to hold until May 2014. The following year he served as Deputy Lord Mayor.

Tilsley was elected Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group in May 2005, which due to the Partnership with the Conservatives in Birmingham made him Deputy Leader of the Council, a post he was to hold until May 2012, when the Coalition in Birmingham lost control to the Labour Party. He was however re-elected as Group Leader of the Group at their Annual Meeting in May 2012 and again in May 2013, 2014, and 2015.

He fought two European Elections in 1999 and 2004, was second on the Liberal Democrat list, and for 10 years he was the alternate MEP for the West Midlands, as only one was elected.

Also at a regional level, when the then Labour Government set up the Regional Development Agencies (RDA's), Regional assemblies were also created as a balance. He was elected as Lib Dem Group Leader, a post that he was to hold from 1998 until the abolition in 2011. He was simultaneously Group Leader and Vice-Chairman of the West Midlands Local Government Association during this period.

He also served as a board member for Castle Vale Housing Trust from 1996 until 1999. In 2001 he was appointed to the Board of Advantage West Midlands, the Regional Development Agency for the West Midlands, standing down in 2004 to fight the European Election.

At a national level, he was first Deputy Leader on the Local Government Association's Urban Commission for 2 years before being elected as Leader and vice-chairman for two years until 2005. Post May 2012, he Was Deputy Chairman of the LGA's Finance Panel, and LibDem spokesman on local government finance until 2014.

In November 2012, Tilsley was elected to the Liberal Democrats Federal Conference Committee. He was re-elected to the Conference Committee again in 2014, after Chairing a number of debates at Conference. In January 2017 he was elected to represent the Policy Committee on the Conference Committee. At a regional level he was Vice-Chairman of the West Midlands Region responsible for urban seats from 2013 until 2015.

In January 2015, he was elected by Councillor colleagues to represent Local Government on the Parties Federal Policy Committee. In January 2017 he was again re-elected by fellow Councillors.

He has also been Birmingham's political spokesman on the English Core Cities, from May 2005 until May 2012.

As Birmingham's representative on Euro Cities, he has served on the Executive Committee, taking a particular interest in Social Affairs Forum, serving 2 years as vice-chairman from 2008, then elected as chairman in 2010. At the Annual Meeting in November 2011 he was responsible for Birmingham's re-election to the Executive Committee.

Tilsley was a non-exec Director of the National Exhibition Centre from May 2005 until December 2012, Chairing the Audit Committee.

in 2008 he was appointed to the Board of Birmingham Airport, which has gone through a period of major expansion, Chairing the Audit Committee, in July 2016 he was re-appointed and took on additional responsibility serving on Remmuneration and Pension Committee.

In May 2012, he was appointed as a Director of Millennium Point, in 2016 was appointed Chair of the Remmuneration Committee.

From 2010 until June 2012 he was a co-opted Committee member of Warwickshire County Cricket Club, and in June 2011 was made a Vice-President of Moseley Rugby Football Club.

Health has also been one of his longstanding interests, having been first appointed to the South Birmingham Community Health Trust in 1995, then to Birmingham Specialist Community NHS Trust, South Birmingham Primary Care Trust, and latterly to Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Trust where he was vice-chairman until August 2015.

He has written a number of articles on issues as diverse as history of the radical M.P. John Bright, to regeneration, sustainability and community politics.

He was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 1991 Birthday Honours for "political and public service" and Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2014 Birthday Honours for services to local government.[4]

In 2007, he was named "Politician of the Year", by the Birmingham Post.


  1. ^ a b c "Councillor Paul Tilsley MBE". Birmingham City Council. Retrieved 7 April 2011. 
  2. ^ a b Elkes, Neil. "Birmingham's Lib Dem leader steps down after almost ten years at the helm". Birmingham Mail. Retrieved 11 January 2016. 
  3. ^ a b Tilsley, Paul. "Sheldon Ward – My News". Birmingham City Council. Retrieved 7 April 2011. 
  4. ^ "No. 60895". The London Gazette (Supplement). 14 June 2014. p. b10.