BBC News: Election 2010 BBC News

Page last updated at 20:01 GMT, Friday, 16 April 2010 21:01 UK

Manchester 'should have elected mayor'

Manchester town hall
David Cameron said a "single figure" should run Manchester

Manchester should have a directly elected mayor, Conservative leader David Cameron has said.

Speaking on BBC Radio Manchester, Mr Cameron said directly elected mayors are "accountable" and can "galvanise action".

He said the system worked well in cities across the world but it was ultimately for residents to choose.

The Liberal Democrats said local voters should decide but Labour says there is no appetite for an elected mayor.

Mr Cameron said: "I think a single figure should run a great city like Manchester. It is someone to blame when things go wrong and praise when they get it right.

"It is someone to galvanise action and get things done.

"The choice will be with the people of Manchester but I hope they will grab it."

Shadow government minister Bob Neill said any referendum would be for a mayor of Manchester, not Greater Manchester.

'Lip service'

Julia Goldsworthy, Liberal Democrat Shadow Communities Secretary, said: "This is yet more evidence of David Cameron paying lip service to localism but not really understanding what it means."

Manchester City Council deputy leader Councillor Jim Battle, speaking on behalf of the Labour party, said the council had consulted residents on the idea of elected mayors several times but there had been little interest.

"The option is there if people want an elected mayor but there's simply no public appetite for this in Manchester," he said.

"If Cameron had bothered to do his homework on this he would realise from the Bury experience that it's not something the public want. Even Conservative Councillors opposed it in Bury and when the public voted, they said no."

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