Yesterday the House of Commons debated whether Newcastle be given the opportunity to have a Mayor. To my amazement the Labour politicians all voted against the proposal. The truth is that the Coalition Government is giving people the choice over whether to have an elected mayor or not.
This is a decision for the people of Newcastle - apparently the North East MPs do not agree with giving this choice, notwithstanding their own decision to introduce Mayors in London, Hartlepool, Middlesborough, North Tyneside and beyond. Led by Nick Brown they voted against the proposal. Fortunately we won and choice carried the day: I spoke strongly in favour of Mayors, who have been a massive success abroad, and in London; the London mayoralty, headed by Ken Livingstone and now Boris Johnson, has been a success - with transformational changes to the capital. I said:
“I believe very strongly that every city does need a mayor of similar clout, able to knock heads together and to push things forward on a public, private and voluntary and charity sector basis and sell their city abroad,”
The referendum order was passed by the committee, meaning residents are now on course to be asked about their views on May 3 – along with polls in other major English cities. If approved, mayoral elections will take place on November 15
The key issue is that local people now have the choice. Just as Labour opposed the Police Commissioners [and every other reform that has been proposed by the Coalition] I find their opposition to democracy to be simply staggering:
Let the People Decide...now theres a strange concept!