Bob Bright: "No enthusiasm" for Newport directly elected mayor
3:17pm Friday 25th April 2014 in News
THE leader of Newport council said there is no enthusiasm for directly elected mayors.
Labour’s Bob Bright said he supports the current system of a cabinet selected from city councillors.
The leader wrote to Tory Cllr David Fouweather ahead of a debate on the subject this September in the Newport Civic Centre where people from the city will speak for and against the idea.
Elected mayors have been adopted in 16 councils areas in England, but there are currently none in Wales.
Nearby Bristol plumped to have an elected mayor in a referendum that took place in 2012, and architect and independent candidate George Ferguson won the subsequent election.
In a written question Cllr Fouweather asked Cllr Bright whether the leader supported having a directly elected mayor for Newport and whether it would be a good move for the city.
Cllr Bright said: “An elected Mayor system remains an option for local government but I understand from the Welsh Government that there is no evidence, either from local government or the electorate, that there is much enthusiasm.
“In Newport, of course, the council has decided that our council will be best administered by the leader and cabinet system and I support the council’s position.”
Mayor of Bristol Mr Ferguson told the Argus last week that Newport could fall between the “stools” of Cardiff and Bristol if it doesn’t have a strong way to champion its advantages.
But he stopped short of stating whether the city should follow Bristol and replace its system of local government with a directly elected mayor.
At least one councillor – Rogerstone Labour member Chris Evans – has said he supports the idea, but among the ranks of city councillors there have been more voices against rather than for.
The debate on elected mayors takes place at Newport civic centre on September 11 at 7.30pm.
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