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Friday, 01 August 2014

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So just who will stand for mayor?

COPELAND is to have its first ever elected mayor – but a number of early favourites have already ruled themselves out of the running.

by Andrew Clarke

Voters decided in a landslide that an elected mayor will be appointed – currently set to be in October – to take the borough’s key decision-making power.

The Time for Change group, which successfully petitioned for last week’s historic referendum, says that none of its members will stand, adding that: “Our work is done”.

Borough council leader Elaine Woodburn, who will lose her position when the elected mayor is voted in, will not stand for the position as she “doesn’t believe in placing all decision-making powers into the hands of one person”.

She added: “What I will be doing is working to help elect the Labour candidate, whoever that may be.”

The Labour group has confirmed that it will field a candidate, but it won’t be Egremont borough councillor Karl Connor, who has spoken out in favour of an elected mayor but has publicly ruled himself out.

The Conservative group has confirmed that it will field a candidate – selected through an open primary – but Alistair Norwood, the deputy Tory leader on Copeland, has reiterated a pre-referendum pledge that it won’t be an existing borough or county councillor.

Gerard Richardson, chief executive of Whitehaven Festival Company, has also confirmed that he will not stand, claiming the position to be “a poisoned chalice”.

The local Liberal Democrats group will discuss its options on June 2.

An overwhelming 12,671 voted for the historic change.

Only 5,489 voted against and the overall turnout was 33.91 per cent.

Following the result of “the people’s referendum” Carla Arrighi, of Time For Change, said: “Working together can bring results. The public has spoken and it’s time we listened to them.”

Coun Woodburn and her five-member Executive committee will revert to being regular ward councillors, and the elected mayor will appoint his or her own Executive made up of between two and nine.

The vote is currently scheduled for October 16, although the council, Time For Change and Copeland MP Jamie Reed have appealed to the government to have this delayed until next May to tie in with general and local elections thereby cutting costs.

The mayor’s salary will be agreed by Copeland following recommendations from an independent panel. However, other elected mayors in the country are paid upwards of £60,000.

The mayor will be in post until May 2019 with elections every four years.

Have your say

I agree, Lee Butterworth for Mayor

Posted by LC on 5 June 2014 at 17:19

James O, I think it is early days to say "No-one has the guts to take this on", by this I presume you mean some high profile Whitehaven based people who have said they are not standing for the mayoral role. I am pleased they have ruled themselves out. Although I live in W/haven I do recognise that Copeland spreads way beyond the town and I hope we can have some high quality independent candidates coming forward. I realised long ago that this vote was going to be a protest against the current unpopular leadership of CBC, love it or loathe it, much of politics is a popularity contest.

Posted by Goyagoya on 5 June 2014 at 12:31

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