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Labour’s Flint hedges on elected mayors

Labour’s Flint hedges on elected mayors

🕔17.May 2011

Caroline Flint, shadow communities minister, wants to block the imposition of shadow mayors later this year almost two years ahead of potential ‘real’ elections to the posts, reports the Local Government Chronicle. It says:

‘Actual elections for the directly elected mayors would only be held in 2013. Ms Flint said: ‘The Tory led government is imposing shadow mayors on cities regardless of whether they want one or not. That’s both unfair and undemocratic.

“Elected mayors can offer effective leadership. But it must be up to local people to decide, not the Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles, sitting in his office in Whitehall.” ‘

She’s not alone in pointing out the absurdity of the leaders of defeated political parties continuing to hold the reins of power until the new system comes in – the scenario in Birmingham is getting many hot under the collar, as the Post’s Paul Dale is wont to point out.

Flint’s solution, however, is not entirely clear. Labour has tabled an amendment in the relevant part of the Localism Bill, striking out the offending sections, but suggesting nothing in their place. This would result in the retention of the petition trigger threshold for a mayoral referenda that Labour put in place more than ten years ago – with notably lacklustre results in the major cities outside of London.

Flint can probably expect to garner widespread support across the party divide for this particular intervention, but councillors of all hues – famously opposed to pretty much all of the Localism Bill – will be wishing she’d gone further and put the mayoral issue to bed once and for all.

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