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Council to debate combined authority and metro mayor…..for 15 minutes only!

Council to debate combined authority and metro mayor…..for 15 minutes only!

🕔16.Feb 2016

Birmingham city councillors WILL get the chance to discuss the proposed West Midlands Combined Authority and metro mayor, but the debate is to be limited to 15 minutes.

Council chief executive Mark Rogers said a motion at the March 1 full council meeting about the devolution deal would “make it clear that it includes the creation of an elected mayor, so members will have the opportunity to debate the issue”.

However, whatever the council decides, Mr Rogers and council leader John Clancy will be given delegated powers to consent to an Order by the Communities Secretary to create an elected metro mayor for the West Midlands.

The arrangements were confirmed following concerns raised by opposition Conservative group leader Robert Alden who is insisting councillors should be able to vote either for or against having a combined authority and a mayor.

It was thought the March 1 debate might be extended to 30 minutes, but the Council Business Management Committee decided to stick to 15 minutes.

It is unclear how many councillors will be able to speak given that Cllr Clancy will have to propose the motion, which will be seconded, and he will have to make the closing speech.

Mr Rogers said it was “inaccurate and misleading” to suggest debate was being stifled.

There will be a motion at full council about the devolution deal, making it clear that it includes the creation of an elected mayor, so members will have the opportunity to debate the issue. Back in November, the devolution deal was signed subject to approval by all the councils.

This is the opportunity for councillors to support or oppose the deal, including an elected mayor.

The authority it is proposed to delegate to the chief executive is simply to give technical confirmation that the Statutory Order reflects that decision when it is produced by the Government later.

In addition, should the deal be approved by all seven councils, there will be further consultation later in the year when we come to amend the details of the combined authority to include the powers of the mayor. There will then be a further council debate and vote.

The decision to limit the debate to 15 minutes came as details of a consultation exercise to gauge public opinion on the combined authority and mayor were released.

More than 800 written comments were submitted to the shadow combined authority, many of them highly critical about lack of democratic accountability and demanding a referendum on whether WMCA and the mayor should go ahead.

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