Birmingham & Black Country

Lord Digby Jones will not stand for mayor of Birmingham post

Lord Digby Jones has ruled himself out as a candidate to become the first elected mayor of Birmingham.

The businessman, a former director general of the CBI, said despite that he still backed the mayor proposal.

But he said an elected mayor should represent the West Midlands region as a whole rather than just the city.

"If we don't lift our ambitions up to the horizons of the West Midlands, and as opposed to just Birmingham, we will really miss a trick," he said.

Speaking to Sunday Politics West Midlands, Lord Jones said he feared a "fabulous opportunity" to change the governance of the region could be lost.

He said he would like to see the businesses of Birmingham having a vote "because they pay tax".

Approve the change

Although he will not be standing, Lord Jones said he would "campaign vigorously" for an elected mayor because he "believes in the principle".

Elections for mayors in 10 of England's biggest cities could happen on 15 November.

The polls will take place only if voters approve the change in referendums scheduled for 3 May.

In Liverpool, the city has already agreed without a referendum to elect a mayor. This vote is set to happen on 3 May.

The cities still to decide are Birmingham, Bristol, Bradford, Coventry, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham, Sheffield and Wakefield.

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