Should Bristol have an elected mayor?

On Thursday 3rd May a referendum is being held in Bristol to determine whether there will be a directly elected mayor for the city.

Nationally, the Conservative Party believes in devolving power and increasing accountability. Directly elected mayors mark another shift in the landmark transfer of powers from Whitehall back to communities, letting people in Bristol decide what is best for Bristol.

Under Labour, power was taken away from local communities and given to faceless bureaucrats in Whitehall. We believe that local people are better placed to make decisions about their city than an official in London, which is why we want a permanent shift of power to a democratically elected and accountable city mayor.

Chairman of Bristol West Conservatives, Graham Godwin-Pearson, says, "Currently, the Leader of Bristol City Council is chosen by a handful of councillors. The current leader won her role by a single vote and only a tiny number of voters actually had a say in her election. We see this as undemocratic.

"For too long, Bristol has lost out on the national stage in so many ways and weak leadership has left us with poor transport, education well below national average and a lack of positive inward investment. Finally, we have a once-in-a-generation chance to vote for strong leadership.

"It's not true that the mayor will cost a lot of money - in fact, Bristol will save money in both the short- and long-term by having one." An elected mayor will:

- Provide a strong and visible leader
- Be a local champion on a national and international stage
- Have a genuine mandate that can drive change

The world’s great cities have mayors who lead for their city on the national and international stage, attracting investment and jobs. We believe that a mayor can help Bristol achieve its full potential too. Apart from anything else, the Government has promised to give mayors extra powers to build partnerships and cooperative working. With other cities choosing mayors, we could even lose-out without one.

Graham continues, "It's up to us - let's vote 'Yes' on 3rd May."