Bristol votes to abolish its elected mayor

Marvin Rees: Bristol’s elected mayor must hand over to a committee system in 2024.

Voters in Bristol have decided to abolish their elected mayor in favour of a committee system in which decisions are made by groups of councillors.

Incumbent Marvin Rees, of the Labour Party, will continue to hold the post until 2024 when he will hand over to the new system.

The BBC is reporting that the always-controversial mayoral system was undermined when Labour lost its majority on the city council, allowing Greens, Conservatives and Liberal Democrats to co-operate to bring about a referendum, and they then campaigned hard to get voters to support their call for change.

That is not This Writer’s understanding of the situation because it suggests that those other parties nudged voters into doing what they wanted.

I’m originally from Bristol, and the impression I’ve had from my contacts there is that residents were unhappy that Mr Rees was making decisions unilaterally, that were often the opposite of what the majority of people wanted.

It was undemocratic.

That’s the drawback – or potential drawback – of having local authorities run by elected mayors.

With that system spreading across the country as a result of Tory government policy, it will be interesting to see how effective Bristol’s return to committee decision-making becomes.

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