As regions across the country made bids for devolved powers from central government today, Lincoln’s council leader made it clear the idea of a directly elected mayor as part of devolution agreements would not get his backing.
Councils and organisations in the Greater Lincolnshire region submitted an ambitious bid for devolved powers on Friday, September 4.
They made their case for the transfer of powers over growth, transport, policing and healthcare, among other areas, forecasting a boost to the economy and thousands of new homes and jobs.
For some regions outlining proposals, such as Yorkshire, and already successful areas like Manchester, the installation of an elected mayor has been central to agreements.
Areas such as Cornwall have however been given greater control over transport, health and employment, but without the installation of an elected mayor.
When asked whether the proposition of an elected mayor in devolution discussions would be one he supports, the City of Lincoln Council leader opposed the idea.
Councillor Ric Metcalfe said: “I am not in favour at all. I think most recently of the directly elected police and crime commissioners and the pathetic democratic legitimacy, or lack of it, that they’ve got.
“We have got highly successful and effective democratic structures already. It’s purely for the convenience of government. They like to have one person they can hold accountable and blame if things go wrong.
“They don’t like the messy business of having to talk to more than one person. It’s nothing about enhancing local democratic accountability.
“I’m out and about in my community and I am democratically accountable. You can’t say that about a police and crime commissioner and you certainly couldn’t say it about an executive mayor.”
Deputy Leader at Lincolnshire County Council Councillor Patricia Bradwell also voiced a view that the role would not be necessary: “I don’t think a directly elected mayor would fit within Lincolnshire. When we had the police and crime commissioner elections turnout was very low.
“In rural Lincolnshire I don’t think residents think that people would see it as a good thing.
“With the political systems that we have now, all of us are local to the area we represent and I think what we have works.
“With the devolution bid we would have to look at how the governance would work but that would be all partners together.
“If we have to have one, then we will have to have one, but we would like to move on without one.”