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Tuesday, 28 July 2015

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Landslide vote for elected Copeland mayor

The people of Copeland have voted by a landslide to have a directly-elected mayor running the council.

COPELAND GOES TO THE POLLS: The Hensingham Polling Station in Whitehaven on Thursday

An overwhelming 12,671 people voted for the historic change, and the borough's first directly elected mayor will take office in October, ousting current council leader Elaine Woodburn in the process. Only 5,489 voted against. The overall turnout was 33.91 per cent.

Carla Arrighi, of the Time For Change group which had successfully petitioned for yesterday's "people's referendum" said: "With an elected mayor, councillors of all parties will work together. Working together can bring results. The public has spoken and it's time we listened to them."

Copeland's elected mayor - one of only a handful in the country - will assume the key decision-making power previously held by Coun Woodburn and her five-member Executive committee, all of whom will revert to being regular ward councillors. The elected mayor will appoint his or her own Executive made up of between two and nine members. The mayor's salary will be agreed by Copeland following recommendations from an independent panel.

Coun Woodburn was not present at last night's count in Egremont Market Hall.

Alistair Norwood, the deputy Conservative leader on Copeland Council, welcomed the result. He said: "I am indebted to Time For Change for bringing this about and there will be a sea change in how things are done at Copeland."

Labour councillor Karl Connor, who argued in favour of an elected mayor in a letter to The Whitehaven News this week, said he was stunned by the margin of victory. "Copeland has spoken in the people's referendum. We must listen," he said.

The elected mayor will be in post until May 2019 with elections every four years thereafter. The vote is currently scheduled for October 16, although the council and Time For Change have appealed to the government to have this delayed until next May to tie in with general and local elections thereby cutting costs.

The main political parties all declined to say who they would nominate for the mayoral post prior to yesterday's outcome.

Copeland's civic mayor Eileen Eastwood will become council chairman and, in all likelihood, civic duties will be split between the mayor and chairman.

In the European Parliamentary elections also held yesterday, 34.16 per cent of Copeland residents turned out to vote. These results will be counted on Sunday in line with the rest of Europe.

Have your say

I'm part of bransty ward, I went to vote and didn't know any of the candidate's for the local elections, what a great campaign they've run, absolutely rubbish, they should be ashamed to call themselves councillors. They just take people for granted.

Posted by Clark Kent on 8 May 2015 at 14:23

@ Nicky 25 May 2153. How dare you attack those with legitimate concerns about the goverance of our borough as "moaners and whingers" and "these people". Do us all a favour and blow-out with your fellow blow-in Ian C.

Posted by John H on 29 May 2014 at 20:08

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