Yes campaign push for Cumbria directly elected mayor

Ben Berry
Image caption Ben Berry believes the county lacks good leadership

A campaign has been launched to have a directly elected mayor for Cumbria.

The Cumbria Yes campaign needs only 5% of voters to back a petition that would trigger a referendum.

Campaigners said an elected mayor running Cumbria County Council would be cheaper than a council leader and provide better leadership.

But a spokesman for the council said electing a mayor would be an unnecessary expense during budget cuts.

The council currently has a leader chosen by councillors.

Leader of the Cumbria Yes Campaign Ben Berry said: "We desperately lack political leadership and direction.

"A mayor would be accountable to all Cumbrians meaning if they made unpopular decisions they would feel the repercussions come the election."

'Balance the books'

He added the campaign was not affiliated to any political party.

A Cumbria County Council spokesman said: "Our efforts are currently focused on making the massive savings needed to balance our books.

"An expensive referendum on how the leader of the council is determined would be an unwelcome and costly distraction and would not address the fundamental issue of having two different sets of councils running things."

"All of our councillors are democratically elected in the same way that MPs are."

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