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Should Bristol have an elected mayor?

Barbara Janke, Liberal Democrat leader of Bristol City Council

Barbara Janke, Liberal Democrat leader of Bristol City Council Bristol City Council

Press release issued: 16 February 2012

Contentious plans to introduce an elected mayor and overhaul the way Bristol is governed will come under the spotlight at a public debate featuring voices from both sides of the argument. The event, organised by the University of Bristol, looks set to address many of the issues which have arisen from the proposal to introduce a Boris Johnson-style leader to run the city.

The event, organised by the University of Bristol, looks set to address many of the issues which have arisen from the proposal to introduce a Boris Johnson-style leader to run the city.

Bristolians have the chance to vote for or against an elected mayor at a referendum on May 3 – a result which could spark the beginning of the biggest upheaval to local democracy since the dissolution of Avon County Council in 1996.

The Bristol University debate takes place on Wednesday, 22 February in the Conference Hall of Bristol City Council at 7pm.

Professor Alex Marsh, Professor of Public Policy in the School for Policy Studies, will be joined by Bristol-based broadcaster Chris Serle, who is chairing the debate. Panellists also include:

  • Mark Weston, Conservative councillor for Henbury and Deputy Leader of the Bristol Conservative Party
  • George Ferguson CBE, owner and founder of Bristol’s Tobacco Factory Theatre, and former President of the Royal Institute of British Architects
  • Deborah Hallett, strategy consultant and recent adviser to the London Development Agency
  • Barbara Janke, Liberal Democrat leader of Bristol City Council

Audience members are invited to submit questions in advance and they will be given the opportunity to cast their vote throughout the debate using hand held devices.

Issues which will be addressed include whether an elected mayor would ensure stronger leadership and better management of Bristol; would it enhance or damage local democracy; the cost of reorganising the council; the length of time councillors and mayors should serve between elections; and what problems would an elected mayor solve.

Doors open at 6.30pm and the event begins at 7pm on Wednesday, 22 February. The event is free but booking is required online: bristolmayordebate.eventbrite.co.uk.

For further information or to submit a question, please contact Amanda Edmondson by email: cpe-info@bristol.ac.uk or tel: 0117 33 18313. Please submit your question together with your full name, email address, phone number and home postcode.

This joint event is organised by the University of Bristol, the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts [RSA], Bristol Festival of Ideas, and the Bristol branch of the Institute of Directors.

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