This letter, from Duncan Hounsell, was originally published in The Week In East Bristol and North East Somerset on 28 April 2016.
Local people voted overwhelmingly to reject having an elected mayor for B&NES but only a week later, the Conservative Chancellor announced a metro mayor was necessary as part of a devolution deal which would create an additional combined authority covering the old Avon area.
This time you will not get a vote. The four individual councils, including B&NES Council, will make the decision. Having a metro mayor system imposed without the express wish of the electorate in the area makes a mockery of 'localism'. Where does this outrageous policy from the Tory Government originate from?
An answer might come by reading an interview in The Spectator magazine with Cameron's former strategist Steve Hilton. In it, he is pressed about the fact that different cities have said no to mayors in the recent past. His reply was: “Are you somehow not a localist if you impose localism? If you believe in localism and decentralisation, there is no other way. How else do you get from A to B?”
So there you have it. Under the Tories, you might get a metro mayor and a combined authority covering the old Avon area, whether you like it or not.
Committee member, Keynsham & Saltford Liberal Democrats