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The Vice-Chancellor with Lord Adonis
Lord Adonis met with the Vice-Chancellor and Head of Politics, Professor Jon Tonge, as part of a visit to Liverpool to gauge support for an elected mayor in the city.
Liverpool is one of 12 cities outside of London that are being given the opportunity to hold a referendum on elected mayors.
Lord Adonis, who is advising the Government on its plans to increase the level of accountability in local government, said: “The mayor would have a direct mandate in place of an indirect mandate at the moment.
“The argument is that by having a direct mandate they would be better known, they would have more practical authority, and they would be able to get things done faster and be more strategic in the way they take things forward in the city.”
Other cities which will also have the opportunity to hold a referendum in 2012, include Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Leeds, Leicester, Coventry, Manchester, Newcastle upon Tyne, Nottingham, Sheffield and Wakefield.
I tend to agree – city region leaders – or mayors if we want to use the title – make more sense. The story so far with elected mayors in towns is not a happy one. I agree that they would work better for larger cities – London has been an important example so far – but London is in effect a city-region of its own.
I find it hard to see the advantage of the City of Liverpool having a mayor (as well as council leader?), and in any event the frame of reference is too small to be strategic. So many of the city region’s key assets and opportunties lie outside the Liverpool city boundary e.g. Wiral Waters, most of the strategic transport network, Seaforth Dock, the proposed post panamax terminal, Daresbury, the GM plant etcetara . A city mayor for the whole of Merseyside – just like Greater London – would make more sense, could coordinate the Boroughs properly, and speak with authority.
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