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Local Democracy

Volume 540: debated on Thursday 9 February 2012

Following parliamentary approval, I have now made orders under section 9N of the Local Government Act 2000, which come into force today, and which require mayoral referendums to be held on 3 May 2012 in Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Coventry, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle upon Tyne, Nottingham, Sheffield and Wakefield.

In their coalition agreement the Government committed to creating directly elected mayors in the 12 largest English cities outside London, subject to confirmatory referendums and full scrutiny by elected councillors.

We are clear from experience both internationally and here in this country that elected executive mayors can significantly enhance the leadership of our major cities, delivering greater economic growth and prosperity. Led by a mayor, our cities will have the potential to perform even more strongly economically, socially and environmentally, making the contribution that they should to the growth and success of the country’s economy.

Leicester elected its city mayor in May 2011. On 7 February 2012, Liverpool city council resolved that their city will have a directly elected mayor and plan to hold the first election for a Liverpool mayor on 3 May 2012.

The orders I have made are the next major step towards creating mayors in the remaining 10 cities. Local people in each of these cities will now have the opportunity to say whether they want their city to have an elected mayor. Where the people decide in the referendum that their city should have an elected mayor, they will elect their first mayor on 15 November 2012.

I have also now made, following parliamentary approval, the Local Authorities (Conduct of Referendums) (England) Regulations 2012 which make provision for the conduct of referendums about local governance changes, including the conduct of the referendums required by the orders.

As we made it clear in the parliamentary debates on the draft orders, it was open to any of the city councils, before their order was made, to resolve to move to an elected mayor. Liverpool has done so, and hence I have not made an order for Liverpool.