Local Elections 2012: Voters reject elected mayors
Voters have rejected David Cameron’s wish to have ‘a Boris in every city’, with referendums in eight out of ten major cities going against directly elected mayors.
Residents of Bradford, Coventry, Manchester, Sheffield, Wakefield, Birmingham, Newcastle and Nottingham have all chosen to retain the current system of local government - through which the council leader is chosen by other elected councillors, rather than a mayor elected by voters.
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However, Bristol voters have opted for a system of an elected mayor while Doncaster voters chose to retain its system of an elected mayor.
In London, Boris Johnson won the vote by a surprisingly slim margin over Labour rival Ken Livingstone.
In Manchester the ‘no’ vote won 53.2% on a low 24% turnout of 91,270, while Coventry recorded a more overwhelming 63.6% vote in favour of maintaining the status quo on a turnout of 62,102.
Voters in Nottingham voted ‘no’ to a city mayor by a margin of 52.5% to 47.5% and in Bradford by 55.1% to 44.9%. Nearly tow thirds of Sheffield voted chose to retain the leadership system.
In Bristol, from a turnout of 24%, 41,032 people voted in favour of a mayor, while 35,880 voted against
Early polling figures suggest widespread apathy, with turnout in some wards across the country as low as 8%.
In an interview with London’s Evening Standard on Wednesday, the prime minister said: ‘I am giving the country the chance to have many more Borises [via elected mayors in the big cities]. I want a Boris in Birmingham, I want a Boris in Leeds, I want a Boris in Bradford. They don’t all have to be members of the Johnson family.’
But responding to the early results, housing minister Mr Shapps told Sky News this morning: ‘People should have the right to decide how they are governed in their local area. The whole point is to give people a say. No-one is forcing mayors on anyone.’
In Liverpool - which had agreed with ministers a 'City Deal' promising greater devolved powers in exchange for a stronger mayoral governance arrangement - Labour council leader Joe Anderson secured his position as the city’s first elected mayor, winning just under 60% of the vote on a 30.8% turnout. Salford, Labour's Ian Stewart became the Greater Manchester borough's first elected mayor after a second round vote.
In the capital, Boris Johnson beat Labour candidate Ken Livingstone by 3% after a much closer contest than polls and many commentators had suggested. My Johnson thanked Londoners for giving him a second mandate and pledged to 'work his socks off' in his second term. In a speech at City Hall, he pledged to press on with the automation of the Tube network, tackle crime and get 'real value for London for the Olympic Games'.
Can I start a campaign to have these elected leaders referred to, please, as 'mayors', to make clear we're talking about a foreign concept and distinguish them from real English mayors. No wonder no-one's bothering to vote if they think it's all about people in red dressing-gowns and silly hats who go round visiting schools and local organisations and being photographed opening things. Who wants to vote for one of those?John Emms, Added: Friday, 4 May 2012 02:30 PM
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