Who wants an elected mayor in Coventry?
- 25 January 2012
- From the section Coventry & Warwickshire
Coventry could have an elected mayor by the end of the year if the voters give the idea their backing.
Communities Minister Greg Clark has said that if people in the city voted yes to the proposals in a referendum on 3 May he would fast-track an election to 15 November.
Coventry is one of 11 cities in England set to have such a referendum in the spring, although the city council's deputy leader George Duggins said there was "no appetite" for one.
The Labour councillor is not alone in believing the city does not need an elected mayor, a position that Mr Clark has said would give "visible leadership" and increase prosperity.
Earlier this month the council voted 45-4 in favour of opposing the government's plans.
Mr Duggins said: "As councillors, people don't engage us about directly-elected mayors.
"What they do do is engage us about a whole variety of issues in respect to the quality of services we provide.
"We are an Olympic city and we didn't need an elected mayor to achieve that."
But Labour MP for Coventry North East, Bob Ainsworth, is one of those to express an interest in the role.
The former defence secretary said: "The current system of running our cities simply doesn't work.
"They cannot provide the leadership cities need in the modern age.
"If you ask the people of Coventry who the [council] leader is or who the deputy leader is, they don't know."
Former council leader Ken Taylor was one of the four Conservative councillors to back the idea of an elected mayor, although he has admitted he is concerned the referendum is being held on the same day as local elections.
Mr Taylor said: "There will obviously be some confusion there and local politicians will be busy trying to get re-elected so the referendum for the elected mayor may slip into the background.
He is also worried that any mayoral election would subsequently happen on the same day as voters go to the polls to choose a new police commissioner.
"I don't quite like the idea of the two going together because people get very confused about it.
"People are confused about the police commissioner and why there's a need for change there."