71% oppose elected Mayor – says Bath MP

MP for Bath, Ben Howlett’s on-line survey into residents’ views on an elected Mayor  has found 71% are opposed to the introduction of such an office, he says.

According to the MP: “The main reasons given for this opposition are concerns about whether an elected Mayor can be held to account and the reduction in influence of local councillors. These were closely followed by concerns about how partisan an elected Mayor may be and support for the existing system of a Council Leader.

Ben Howlett MP
Ben Howlett, MP for Bath.

Ben said of the survey

“My views are widely known that I do not believe an elected Mayor for Bath & North East Somerset (B&NES) is the right thing for the people of Bath. Less than a year from an election which saw our new councillors elected I very much hope they will have the opportunity to progress their manifesto commitments, unhindered by another layer of bureaucracy with an elected Mayor.

Centralising decision making across an area as large and diverse as B&NES will inevitably detach decision-making from local communities. It will also remove influence from local councillors who understand their local areas well and were only last year elected to represent these communities.

My online survey and doorstep conversations clearly show the majority of Bath residents agree with me that an elected Mayor is not right for B&NES.”

Now l usually sit on the fence when it comes to voting matters but just feel some clarification would be helpful. I don’t exactly feel this for and against pre-referendum campaign has much steam to it.

It’s going to be a muted show of public opinion whichever way it goes on March 10th.

I have asked Ben how many people answered his on-line survey – one of many he has been conducting recently. He has already tweeted that it’s 720 and more are coming in.

The population of Bath – according to the 2011 Census – is 88,859. The population for the whole of B&NES is 176,015.

Also, he is  only MP for Bath and the referendum covers the whole of Bath and North East Somerset so surely his survey  – and public engagements on the matter – only applies to the city itself.

elected mayor

His personal view is one of many. His Prime Minister and Chancellor are both is favour of elected representatives heading local authority areas – and in granting increased local powers to them too.

B&NES is likely to become part of one of those ‘super’ regions in the near future and will have a man or woman in charge who has been directly elected by the general public.

That’s the only way the region will attractive Government investment.