Today Labour and Green councillors joined forces to save the Mayor from the people of Bristol. The Liberal Democrat motion, to give the people of Bristol a referendum on the Mayoral system that was voted on today lost by 11 votes, after Labour & Green councillors voted against it (with some Green councillors abstaining), meaning the motion didn't pass.
The Liberal Democrats have been listening to local people, whose frustration is clear with the Mayor, his failures, and the lack of accountability and democracy in the Mayoral system. 77% of the people of Bristol feel the elected Mayor isn't improving the leadership of the city, and we feel they deserve the chance to scrap the Mayor if they want to.
While we want to offer a special thanks to the two Labour rebels that broke the Labour whip to vote for democracy and their residents, we are disappointed that Green councillors chose to vote against or abstain on the motion, even though their national party policy is to scrap directly elected mayors.
Cllr Gary Hopkins, Leader of the Lib Dem Council Group, said "I'm frustrated that Labour and Green councillors have voted (or abstained) in order to save the Mayor's skin, and deny the people of Bristol their democratic right. In every single ward in the city a majority of people feel the elected Mayor isn't improving the leadership of the city. The Labour and Green councillors were not voting on behalf of their residents, but on behalf of their parties. We will continue campaigning hard to give the people of Bristol the vote they deserve, to say enough is enough and scrap the Mayor.
Caroline Gooch, Lib Dem candidate for Bristol Mayor, said 'This is a sad day for the people of Bristol, unfortunately the lack of transparency and accountability will continue to corrupt the governance of Bristol. The Labour and Green councillors that voted against or abstained on the motion for political reasons, and have robbed the people of Bristol the chance to make their voice heard. It makes it even more important for people to vote for me as Bristol Mayor on May 6th, as if I'm elected I will continue the campaign until we get the backing for a referendum, whether from council or from the people of Bristol. I will campaign to scrap my own job, giving local residents the chance to sack me, which I hope they do.
If you back our campaign for a referendum and to eventually scrap the Mayoral role, you can sign our petition by clicking here.