Won’t an elected mayor be too powerful?
Under the government’s legislation, an appointed leader and
an elected mayor will have very similar powers. The main difference will be that a mayor will hold these powers as a result of direct election. It is
likely, however, that media and public interest in an elected mayor will
subject that person to greater scrutiny than a leader.
How can the public remove an elected mayor?
The mayor will serve a four-year term. If the mayor then seeks
re-election, every member of the public will have a vote. If electors are not
satisfied with the mayor’s record, they need not vote for that candidate
again. If local people are dissatisfied with a leader appointed by
councillors, on the other hand, they will have no say in that person’s
reappointment. Additionally, a mayor will be subject to day-to-day scrutiny
in a way that an unelected leader will not be.
Won’t the same people stand for mayor as leader?
The people who would have stood for leader may well stand for
mayor. But they will get elected only if they can win the support of local
people as well as their political parties.
Won’t elections be all about personalities?
It will be up to the public to decide their criteria for
electing a mayor. Most electors will judge candidates by both their personal
qualities, as negotiators on behalf of local people, and their policies. What
is certain is that mayoral candidates will campaign on issues. They will
raise awareness of local matters and fewer votes will be cast on national
What’s the point without a unitary authority for Oxford?
There is even more point. Oxford will have the opportunity to
elect a key figure armed with a mandate to talk on its behalf with all the
bodies providing services in the city. These will include the county council.
Do people want an elected mayor?
Opinion polls show a high level of public interest in an
elected mayor, with support ranging between 55 and 75 per cent. Of course,
the only way to find out for sure is through a referendum.
Hasn’t Oxford City Council already consulted on this?
Oxford City Council carried out some public consultation
during 2000 after it had already decided against an elected mayor. The
council has now accepted that its first round of consultation was
insufficiently rigorous and is having to go through the exercise again.
What will happen to Oxford’s Lord Mayor?
The elected mayor will be a political post, entirely separate
from the ceremonial post of Lord Mayor, which will remain.