Page last updated at 17:26 GMT, Thursday, 11 September 2008 18:26 UK

Referendum over city's government

Stoke Town Hall
The council's preferred option will be voted on by the public

A referendum will be held in Stoke-on-Trent after councillors decided they preferred an elected leader and cabinet system of local government.

The government has ordered the city to change its existing system whereby the elected mayor Mark Meredith and a chief executive make all decisions.

It offered the city the option of an elected mayor with a cabinet or an elected council leader with a cabinet.

The public will be asked to approve the council's choice on 23 October.

Councillors voted 41 for and seven against the proposal, with seven abstentions, earlier.

'People's decision'

If the city votes yes to the elected leader system, it will be installed from May 2009.

If the public rejects the system, the elected mayor and cabinet system will be introduced.

The city is currently the only local authority in England to have its current political system.

The government ordered that it should be axed following a heavily critical report that said it was not working and that people in the city were being "short-changed" by their politicians.

Chief executive Steve Robinson said: "The council has now weighed up the options and decided to back the leader and cabinet system.

"But the final decision is up to the people of the city in the referendum to be held on Thursday 23 October.

"I urge people to make up their own mind and turn out to vote."

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