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Saturday, 29 November 2014

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Ruling awaited on mayor date

COPELAND Council is yet to receive an answer to its request to delay the elected mayor vote.

By Andrew Clarke

Current legislation means that the historic vote must be held on October 16. However, the council – along with MP Jamie Reed and campaign group Time For Change – have asked the government to delay the vote until next May to tie in with local and general elections, thereby cutting costs.

The council confirmed this week that the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has acknowledged its request and is considering whether to allow the delay.

A Copeland spokeswoman said that the council will need to learn of DCLG’s decision by mid-August, to allow it to prepare for an October election or otherwise.

If DCLG rules that the election must take place in October, the full cost – estimated at £120,000 – will be met by Copeland.

Voters decided in a landslide last month that the elected mayor will be appointed to take the borough’s key decision-making power, ousting council leader Elaine Woodburn and her five-member Executive in the process.

As yet, no candidates have put themselves forward publicly, and all the main political parties are about to start the process of selecting a candidate.

To be eligible, a candidate must have a “connection with Copeland” in terms of residency or work, and must not be disqualified, including being employed by the local authority or be politically restricted post in any local authority.

An existing Copeland councillor can stand, but must resign his or her seat if elected. There are no restrictions on parish, town or county councillors standing.

Full eligibility criteria can be found at www.whitehaven-news.co.uk.

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