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Leadership politics in the United Kingdom's local government

Bristol fashion ? Leadership and local politics in England and the power of democratically-elected mayors : an epiphenomenon or a national trend ?

Susan Finding
p. 85-100

Résumé

In 2012 Bristol, one of the top English cities, on a par with Manchester in terms of population, elected its first democratically-elected mayor. To lead its council, Bristol elected not a member of one of the traditional political parties, but George Ferguson, local businessman and political novice, leader and sole member of Bristol First, the localist party he founded. This paper will examine how local politics in Bristol have been influenced by the introduction of direct democracy in mayoral elections in England and whether the Bristol case is a blueprint demonstrating how local politics are independent from the national level and new leadership styles and issues or whether Bristol merely reflects the general trend in the sixteen remaining directly-elected city mayoralties.

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Introduction

  • 1 The largest UK cities, excluding the population in the built-up conurbation around them, are London (...)

1 In 2012 Bristol, one of the top English cities, on a par with Manchester in terms of population,1 elected its first democratically-elected mayor. To lead its council, Bristol elected not a member of one of the traditional political parties, but George Ferguson, local businessman and political novice, leader and sole member of Bristol First, the localist party he founded. This paper will examine how local politics in Bristol have been influenced by the introduction of direct democracy in mayoral elections in England and whether the Bristol case is a blueprint demonstrating how local politics are independent from the national level and new leadership styles and issues or whether Bristol merely reflects the general trend in the sixteen remaining directly-elected city mayoralties.

  • 2 Susan Finding, « Who governs Britain - Democracy in action? Directly Elected Mayors in England », M (...)
  • 3 The Localism Act (2011) required that the people living in the twelve largest towns in England shou (...)

2 In a previous paper, I asked whether there was a deficit or surfeit of democracy in the arrangements introducing democratically-elected mayors (DEMs) in Britain.2 I also set out a hypothesis that size mattered : that directly elected mayors were suitable to more easily identifiable medium-size towns rather than metropolitan areas. Bristol was the only city with over 300,000 population - apart from London and Liverpool - to have gone down that path, following the 2011 Localism Act.3

  • 4 Vernon Bogdanor, The New British Constitution, Oxford, Hart, 2009.
  • 5 B. Delanoë, 'Preface' in United Cities and Local Governments-World Bank. 1st UCLG World Report on D (...)
  • 6 Finding, op.cit.
  • 7 G. Lodge, ‘Mayors and democratic renewal in England’, in Gash, T., Sims, S. What can elected mayors (...)

3 The power and status of democratically elected mayors in England is a question which is beginning to emerge as a new dimension in national politics in Britain. Whilst the direct election of mayors by cities in the UK was limited to the capital (from 2000), the personalisation of politics appeared to be specific to this example in the personae first of Ken Livingstone then of Boris Johnson. By the end of the 2000s, the New Localism trend4, was predicted to become a permanent feature of the British political system and part of the “quiet democratic Revolution”,5 and it seemed likely that “the local demos [would] become the new locus for democratic reassertion in the face of globalisation”6 and “an important new route into politics for people from different backgrounds”.7 What emerged with other major cities directly electing their mayors in the following decades is the continuation and extension of that phenomenon.

  • 8 Lewisham, Newham, Hackney, Mansfield, Stoke-on-Trent, Doncaster, North Tyneside, Middlesbrough, Har (...)
  • 9 Finding, ibid. Table 1. Directly Elected Mayors in England, July 2015.

4 By 2005, three London boroughs, six towns in the north of England, two towns in the South-East, and one isolated south-west location, had chosen to elect a DEM, although these were hardly significant cities.8 After the 2011 Localism Act (2011), in referenda held in May 2012, nine of the ten towns consulted, Birmingham, Bradford, Coventry, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham, Sheffield, and Wakefield, rejected the proposal for a DEM. Without consulting their electorate, the town councils of Leicester, Liverpool and Salford, opted directly for an elected mayor. It was announced in 2014, that the ’devolved’ city-region of Greater Manchester (Combined Authority Boroughs : Bolton, Bury, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford, Wigan), with a population of 2.7m, would elect a DEM from 2017. Four of the towns that experimented with direct elections have since reverted to the former style of indirect election of the mayor by councillors (Doncaster, Hartlepool, Stoke-on-Trent and Torbay).9

Bristol as a blueprint for independent politics 

  • 10 Bristol First, Keep Bristol Independent with George Ferguson, 2016.
  • 11 Joe Smith, 'Will Bristol re-elect the Marmite Mayor', New Statesman, 7 April 2016 - reference to sa (...)

5 Bristol is therefore the only large city which took the opportunity offered by the 2011 legislation. George Ferguson left his stamp on Bristol in the three and a half years he was mayor. Literally almost as flamboyant as former London Mayor Boris Johnson, – Ferguson sported trademark red trousers – the Bristol Mayor also had audiences with world leaders. However his achievements in managing Bristol – his election material lists the economy, transport, homes, the elderly, learning, energy, European Green Capital10 – appear to have galled the voters and led to widespread discontent about traffic, parking and public transport. Following the congestion caused by residents’ parking schemes and 20mph zones, he was portrayed as an Orwellian Big Brother inspiring what the New Statesman called a « semi-ironic dystopian graffiti campaign » in the tradition of Bristolian street artist Banksy.11

  • 12 'Your priorities for the next Bristol mayor', Jelena Belec, Bristol 24/7, May 3, 2016.
  • 13 'George Ferguson odds on favourite for mayor', Bristol24/7, April 28, 2016.

6 A vox pop by local media identified a range of issues the public thought priorities in the run-up to the second direct mayoral election, apart from transport & traffic, housing, leisure & sport (Bristol Arena, charges for running in parks), community cohesion, the environment (litter), opportunities for young people and education (inner city schools) were mentioned.12 Thirteen candidates stood for the election in May 2016, five selected by the national political parties : Conservative, Labour, LibDem, Green and UKIP ; and eight independents including the sitting mayor, who was favourite to win against the only serious contender,13 Labour candidate Marvin Rees, runner-up in 2012.

  • 14 Eligible electorate: 316,765. Votes cast: 142,120 ; Turnout: 44.87%. Bristol Returning Officer.
  • 15 Roger Hambleton, David Sweeting, The Bristol Civic Leadership Project, The Impacts of Mayoral Gover (...)
  • 16 The supplementary voting system is used for all direct elections of mayors. Voters make two choices (...)

7The importance of the vote for Bristol, and, it can be argued, the increasing significance of democratically-elected mayors, was reflected in both the turnout and the reactions to the result. The turnout of Bristol voters rose from 25 % in 2012 to nearly 45 % in 2016,14 demonstrating how important Bristolians now considered the mayor. Research showed « an astonishing increase in the visibility of city leadership in Bristol » but also detected « public confidence in decision-making had not improved ».15 Even before the attribution of second choice votes in the supplementary voting system,16 the polls were unequivocal.

  • 17 John Harris, 'Bristol mayor Marvin Rees: ‘My dad arrived to signs saying: No Irish, no blacks, no (...)

8The final result declared was Marvin Rees : 68,750 ; George Ferguson : 39, 577. The incumbent mayor’s apparent lack of action on two major issues in Bristol : housing (affordability and homelessness) and inequality (extremes of wealth and poverty visible in the city), was deemed to have influenced voters.17

9 Following the May 2016 local elections, in an Editorial in The Guardian devoted to this new form of decentralisation, it was Bristol’s new mayor, not London’s, who was cited first and foremost, as an example of this externalisation of politics from the corridors of Westminster and Whitehall.

(…) the new mayoralties themselves may prove more significant than has fully been noticed in Westminster. The roles have not yet been defined and whatever control they can wrest from central government will be limited by the brutal fiscal constraints imposed upon them. That handicap, combined with a deep-seated cultural snobbery towards local government, has masked the potential for a generation of metropolitan barons to effect profound constitutional change. (...)

  • 18 Editorial, 'The Guardian view on political careers: anywhere but Westminster', The Guardian, 20 May (...)

Marvin Rees, Labour’s newly chosen mayor of Bristol, becomes potentially one of his party’s most significant figures in English politics, by virtue of holding a directly elected executive post with real governing responsibilities. It is a test of managerial capability with higher stakes than most frontbench opposition jobs in parliament. By the same measure, Sadiq Khan’s decisive victory in London’s mayoral contest, bringing with it a mandate of millions, bestows more authority than that of even the most senior shadow cabinet ministers.18

10 With wide social differences within Bristol, and significant inner city areas with a number of deprivation criteria19, it is not surprising to find that these were the electoral wards voting for the Labour candidate who himself hails from such an area.20 Indeed, the symbolic importance of the election of Rees, a mixed race child (Jamaican-British) raised in St Paul’s, the Bristol inner city district which had witnessed race riots in 1980, a man who had achieved university education, worked as a journalist and in mental health management and gained a Yale World Fellowship for leadership training, was underlined both by Rees himself and those for whom Bristol’s rich history was tainted by the legacies of the slave trade and discrimination.21 Interviewed by the national press, Rees pointed out that :

  • 22 Alexandra Sims, 'Bristol elects Labour's Marvin Rees as new mayor', The Independent, 7 May 2016.

Fifty years ago, my dad arrived here from Jamaica to signs saying: ‘No Irish, no blacks, no dogs’. […] At around the same time, we had the Bristol bus boycott because they wouldn’t employ black and Asian people. And now they’ve elected a mixed-race guy to be mayor. That says something about the journey Bristol has been on.22

11 In the Bristol city council elections held on the same day, the Labour party won an overall majority of four seats (Labour 37, Conservative 14, Greens 11, LibDems 8, UKIP 0, TUSC 0, Wessex Regionalists 0, Independent 0) confirming the Labour party’s historic predominance on the council they had held (with one three-year interruption) from 1973 to 2003, and where, although holding no overall control, they had been a Labour majority group from 2003 to 2016, ruling in coalition with the LibDems from 2003-2009. Out of seventy councillors, and over forty years, Labour held fewer than thirty seats only from 2005 to 2013 when the LibDems benefitted from a surge in popularity that reflected the LibDems national fortunes.23

  • 24 'Corbyn in Bristol to congratulate new mayor', Louis Emanuel, Bristol 24/7, May 7, 2016.

12 Furthermore, the national echo of the result was almost equivalent to the reaction to the election of Labour M.P. Sadiq Khan as mayor of London. While international media were commenting on the election of a Muslim as mayor of a world city, national attention was focused on Jeremy Corbyn’s absence as Labour leader at Khan’s swearing in (Daily Express, 7 May 2016, ’So where’s Jeremy ? Corbyn snubs Sadiq Khan as he is sworn in as London Mayor’ – a subtle swipe at the Labour leader’s apparent lack of charisma with the reference to being lost in the crowd in the Where’s Wally ? children’s picture books). Jeremy Corbyn was in fact making the trip to Bristol, where he made a surprise appearance in Bristol to congratulate Marvin Rees, newly elected Labour mayor : « It’s a wonderful day, Marvin Rees, a black man, elected mayor of Bristol. »24

Map 1 Bristol wards local election results (councillors) 2016

Map 1 Bristol wards local election results (councillors) 2016

Key : Red : Labour ; Blue : Conservative ; Green : Greens, Yellow : LibDems.

Source : Bristol wards 2016.png, Creative Commons, 8 May 2016.

National v local government as a locus for power

  • 25 Wills Memorial Building and Tower (tobacco merchant), Colston Hall (slave-trader) In 2017, the Bris (...)

13 Not since the election of Edmund Burke as Member of Parliament for Bristol in the late 18th century, has an MP made a name for himself on the national stage. Buildings and statues in the town are named after and portray local benefactors25 not politicians. Put into a wider perspective, the result of the election in Bristol is also symbolic of not only the revival of prospects for the Labour party at the local level, at least in England, but also of prospects for local democracy with the impending extension of directly elected mayors to metropolitan areas such as Manchester, the so-called ’metro’ mayors.

  • 26 Bristol, Doncaster, Hackney, Leicester, Lewisham, Liverpool, London, Middlesborough, Newham, North (...)
  • 27 Respectively Watford, Bedford, Copeland, Mansfield, Torbay.
  • 28 Sims,The Independent, 7 May 2016.

14 Following the 2016 local elections, the re-election of Joe Anderson in Liverpool, and wins in Bristol (Marvin Rees), London (Sadiq Khan) and Salford (Paul Dennett), the Labour party controlled twelve26 of the seventeen localities thus governed, leaving two Independents, two LibDems and one Conservative as directly elected mayors in areas of lesser strategic importance.27 In council elections taking place in England on the same day, Labour retained more seats than expected and held onto towns it was thought they might lose such as Southampton and Norwich, although the party lost control of the devolved Welsh Assembly and came third in Scotland, former Labour bastion.28

Table 1 List of directly-elected mayors following 2016 local elections

Bedford UAB

Dave Hodgson,

2009, 2011, 2015

LibDem

Bristol UAC

Marvin Rees,

2016

Labour

Copeland DC

Mike Starkie,

2015

Independent

Doncaster MB

Ros Jones

2013

Labour

Hackney LB

Jules Pipe

2002, 2006, 2010, 2014

Labour

Leicester UAC

Peter Soulsby

2011, 2015

Labour

Lewisham LB

Steve Bullock

2002, 2006, 2010, 2014

Labour

Liverpool MB

Joe Anderson

2012, 2016

Labour

London R

Shadiq Khan

2016

Labour

Mansfield DC

Kate Alsop

2015

Independent

Middlesborough UAB

Dave Budd

2015

Labour

Newham LB

Robin Wales

2002, 2006, 2010, 2014

Labour

North Tyneside

Norma Redfearn

2013

Labour

Salford MB

Paul Dennet

2016

Labour

Torbay UA

Gordon Oliver

2011, 2015

Conservative

Tower Hamlets LB

Biggs

201

Labour

Watford

Dorothy Thornhill

2002, 2006, 2010, 2014

LibDem

Key : DC – District Council ; LB – London Borough ; MB – MetropolitanBorough ; R – Region ; UA – Unitary Authority ; UAB – Unitary Authority Borough ; UAC – Unitary Authority City.

Source : Elected mayors in England, http://www.citymayors.com/​mayors/​british-mayors.html, accessed 26 July 2016.

15 Local government deals became a national trend under the Cameron government from 2010. Bristol, Liverpool and Salford (as part of Manchester Metropolitan area) are also significantly towns which are included in plans to create more far-reaching and powerful mayorships for election in May 2017 under so-called devolution deals announced by David Cameron’s Conservative government in 2015 (Cities and Local Government Devolution Act 2016). The Act enables

  • 29 Summary of the Cities and Local Government Devolution Act 2016, www.parliament.uk.

provision for the election of mayors for the areas of, and for conferring additional functions on, combined authorities established under Part 6 of the Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009; to make other provision in relation to bodies established under that Part; to make provision about local authority governance and functions; to confer power to establish, and to make provision about, sub-national transport bodies; and for connected purposes.29

  • 30 Andrew Bounds, Chris Tighe '‘Metro mayors’ in England face curbs on power', Financial Times, May 16 (...)

16Under this legislation, apart from Liverpool, Salford (Greater Manchester) and Bristol (Avon) which already have directly elected mayors, areas including Sheffield, the West Midlands, North Midlands, the North-East. Tees Valley, Greater Lincolnshire, the West of England, and East Anglia would receive new funding provisions and be governed by so-called ’metro mayors’, some of whom would be directly elected mayors.30

17 The plans to create these new areas can be seen as a way round the ’English question’ created by the devolution of powers to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, that is the lack of political representation other than in Westminster for the English, and the lack of identification with English regions for purposes of political governance. Under the previous Labour government, alongside DEMs, instituted from 1998 (London) and 2002, there were plans for referenda concerning Regional Assemblies based on the regions used for statistical purposes and European Parliamentary Elections. The Regional Assemblies (Preparations) Act 2003, provided for referenda on the introduction of this new administrative tiers in the north of England regions North East, North West, Yorkshire & Humberside. Following the resounding defeat of the first referendum held in November 2004, when the North East electorate voted No (78 %) in a reasonable turnout (49 %), the idea was put on ice. The rejection has been explained in several ways : a refusal of additional bureaucracy and taxes, historic rivalry between cities within the region candidates for the assembly seat, and insufficient identification with the proposed assemblies.

  • 31 Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham, Sheffie (...)
  • 32 Prime Minister’s Office, ‘Scottish Independence Referendum: Statement by the Prime Minister’, 19 Se (...)
  • 33 Cabinet Office, The Deputy Prime Minister's Office, 2010 to 2015 Government Policy: City Deals and (...)

18 The creation in 1995 of the Core Cities group, an association of the ten largest English cities apart from London, with metropolitan areas of 1m-3m population, may have been decisive and their lobbying effective in identifying a level at which political representation and management was lacking.31 The proposal was revived in a revised form under the Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009, by which the Combined Authorities of Greater Manchester (2011), Sheffield, Liverpool, North East, West Yorkshire (2014) were established. Promises for « wider civic engagement about how to improve governance in our United Kingdom, including how to empower our great cities »32 were made by the Prime Minister for further devolution after the Scottish referendum (September 2014). Further ’city-deals’ for Birmingham, Bristol and Nottingham were announced by the Nick Clegg, LibDem Deputy Prime Minister in the 2010-2015 Coalition Government, so that all Core Cities would thus be given greater control of their affairs.33

  • 34 Speech by George Osborne, Chancellor, 14 May 2015, Victoria Warehouse, Manchester, HM Treasury.
  • 35 Chris Stokel-Walker. 'What is the Northern Powerhouse ?' BBC News, Magazine, 14 May 2015.

19 The Conservative government’s 2016 Cities and Local Government Devolution Act pursued the idea with added incentives, promising the injection of funds and additional powers over local services including transport and health, as a way of redressing the imbalance in the economy, as « a revolution in the way we govern England »34 and created a specific ministerial post for the Northern Powerhouse.35

  • 36 Edward Molloy,'A Democratic Northern Powerhouse', Posted 9th July 2015, https://www.electoral-refor (...)
  • 37 Katie Ghose, Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society, 'Devolution: power to the people', Pu (...)

20 However, criticizing the Conservative government’s « tendency to deal with the issue of regional devolution as primarily an economic question », the Electoral Reform Society warned that attention should be « paid to the actual democratic structures that can help create the social and cultural capital necessary for a vibrant economy and society »36 and urged reforms in the voting system for other indirect council elections, notably by replacing the first-past-post system, which penalises smaller parties, with proportional representation to produce less monolithic councils, likened to « one-party states ».37

  • 38 Sergeant, op.cit.

21 Although the new city-deals, their combined authorities’ control of the budgets, and the priorities they choose to enact, do not depend on the direct election method for mayoral appointments, it cannot be denied that the combination of the two developments is a heady mixture. It was described as ’tak[ing] back power in the interests of the communities they [local authorities] represent’ by Hilary Benn, Shadow Communities and Local Government Secretary.38 

22 Furthermore, these developments confirm the hypothesis that size does matter. The proposed combined authorities in England would represent areas with populations of over half a million. Twelve deals had been agreed by June 2016 : Greater Manchester, Sheffield City Region, West Yorkshire, Cornwall, Northeast, Tees Valley, West Midlands, Liverpool City Region, Cambridgeshire, Norfolk/Suffolk, West of England, Lincolnshire.

Leadership and local politics

  • 39 'Devolution deals. Merseyside and West Midlands to have elected Mayors', BBC News, 17 November 2015 (...)
  • 40 Finding, op.cit.

23 Leadership issues resurfaced in the debates around the desirability of such large authorities and the arm-twisting by government for such city deals to include mayoral elections.39 Opinion was divided about the executive powers democratically-elected mayors would have even before the new city-deals and mayorships for conurbations were mooted.40 The independence from the council that previously elected them conferred on such mayors by direct election was not wholly welcomed. The House of Commons Select Committee on Devolution and Local government 2015-2016 reported :

  • 41 House of Commons, Communities and Local Government Committee, Devolution: the next five years and b (...)

We heard evidence that there are benefits to be gained from having an elected Mayor; for example leadership, strong accountability and a ‘go to’ voice for business. However, we believe elected Mayors are likely to be better suited to urban areas. The scale, geography and economic diversity of non-metropolitan areas mean elected Mayors are unlikely to be an easy fit. Local areas should be allowed to decide whether or not they wish to have an elected Mayor. Those which do not want an elected Mayor, but nonetheless want substantial devolved powers, should be allowed to propose an equally strong alternative model of governance.41

  • 42 Kate Allen, Chris Tighe, Sarah Neville, 'Osborne’s devolution plans hit by dissenting councils', Fi (...)
  • 43 H. Pickstock, 'Council says no to £1 billion metro mayor and devolution deal', Bristol Post, Posted (...)

24 The link between the government’s plans for devolution of powers to cities and elected mayors was indeed the cause of some resistance. Councils in areas intended for absorption into these new greater authorities feared lack of influence.42 Councils in North Somerset voted against incorporation into the Greater Bristol (Avon) area, fearing « Government funding allocated to the region as part of the devolution deal would be sucked away by Bristol, leaving the area they represent, (...) as the poor relation. »43

  • 44 ComRes, Centre for Cities / 2017 Mayoral Research - Survey of adults in Greater Manchester, Liverpo (...)
  • 45 Bounds & Tighe, ' Metro Mayors…', op.cit. This paper was written prior to the Grenfell Tower traged (...)

25 On the other hand, the wide-ranging powers and independence of these new city majors appeared to give them the upper-hand in achieving results. Bristol residents were not alone in prioritising transport and housing. A poll in the five largest city-regions which would elect ’metro mayors’ in 2017 found opinion largely in favour of power being given to the mayor rather than to the council and their first priorities for action – after concerns about the provision of healthcare - would be road and rail investment and affordable housing.44 Expectations about the elected mayor’s powers may well be disappointed however, as only internal transport (trams, buses) can be delivered by the city (intercity transport franchises remain the purview of the government) and social housing has suffered generally from lack of funding.45 But elected mayors of combined authorities would benefit from the additional funds made available from central government and their greater status, thus helping to influence decision-makers.

26 Following Gateshead’s refusal to join the North-East Combined Authority, the head of the Centre for Cities commented :

  • 46 Luke Walton, '£30m devolution deal with North East mayor gets backing', BBC News, 17 May 2016.

The North East mayor would be operating at a much bigger level, with the position comes power - power over transport and housing and with it comes money the government has already agreed too. But it also brings profile - a person batting for the North East with national governments and investors and that kind of profile has a strong mandate. It will really benefit the area. The mayor offers more of a chance to make decisions at a local level rather than them being taken in Whitehall where they don’t really know the area.46

Conclusion

27 Little surprise that since introduction of democratically elected mayors, and since the announcement of these metro mayorships and the devolution of more power to metropolitan areas, despite the misgivings continuing to be voiced about empowering one person to the detriment of collective consultation, local leadership now appears more attractive on the national political scene, attractive enough to resign as Member of Parliament as Saddiq Khan & Peter Soulsby (mayor of Leicester) did. Central government and ministerial office are now rivalled by local government and mayorships under these devolved entities.

  • 47 Janet Sillett, 'It’s all eyes on the metro mayor prize', May 27, 2016, (Local Government Informatio (...)

(…) this could be a moment of change in the balance between the local and the national. Firstly, that there is a recognition that the local and the regional really do matter and that it is actually a promotion rather than sidelining for an MP to step up to being a mayor. Secondly, that devolution will gradually shift the attitude of Westminster to sub-national government.47

28The expression « shipshape and Bristol fashion » may have a renewed life as reflecting the renewal of local demos in the national political scene.

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Bibliographie

Allen K., Tighe C., Neville S., ’Osborne’s devolution plans hit by dissenting councils’, Financial Times, March 24, 2016.

Belec J. ’Your priorities for the next Bristol mayor’, Bristol 24/7, May 3, 2016.

Blake, K., Marvin for Mayor Building a Better Bristol, Marvin Rees for Bristol, 2016.

Bogdanor V. The New British Constitution, Oxford, Hart, 2009.

Bounds A., Tighe C., ’‘Metro mayors’ in England face curbs on power’, Financial Times, May 16, 2016.

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Bristol First, Keep Bristol Independent with George Ferguson, 2016.

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Harris J. ’Bristol mayor Marvin Rees : ‘My dad arrived to signs saying : No Irish, no blacks, no dogs’ ’, Guardian, 23 May 2016.

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Molloy E., ’A Democratic Northern Powerhouse’, Electoral Reform Organisation, 9th July 2015, https://www.electoral-reform.org.uk/blog/democratic-northern-powerhouse.

Morris S. ’Bristol chooses Labour’s Marvin Rees as new mayor over George Ferguson’, Guardian, 7 May 2016.

Newman I. Reclaiming Local Democracy, A Progressive Future for Local Democracy, Bristol, Policy Press, 2014.

Pickstock H. ’Council says no to £ 1 billion metro mayor and devolution deal’, Bristol Post, June 07 2016.

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Sellers J.M. Between National State and Local Society : Infrastructures of Local Governance in Developed Democracies, Paper presented at Urban Affairs Association Annual Meeting, Cleveland, OH, 2003.

Sillett J. ’It’s all eyes on the metro mayor prize’, May 27, 2016, (Local Government Information Unit) http://www.lgiu.org.uk/2016/05/27/it-all-eyes-on-the-metro-mayor-prize/at.

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Notes

1 The largest UK cities, excluding the population in the built-up conurbation around them, are London 7m, Birmingham 1m, Leeds 700,000, Glasgow 600,000, Sheffield 530,000, Bradford 483,000, Liverpool 467,000, Edinburgh 448,000, Manchester 430,000 and Bristol 399,000. CityMayors Statistics, 'The UK's 200 largest towns, cities and districts', 2010, http://www.citymayors.com/gratis/uk_topcities.html, accessed 26 July 2016.

2 Susan Finding, « Who governs Britain - Democracy in action? Directly Elected Mayors in England », Mémoire(s), identité(s), marginalité(s) dans le monde occidental contemporain [En ligne], 14 | 2015, http://mimmoc.revues.org/2288.

3 The Localism Act (2011) required that the people living in the twelve largest towns in England should chose by direct consultation whether or not they should maintain the ancient indirect election of the mayor by the elected town council or a mayor elected directly by the local people.

4 Vernon Bogdanor, The New British Constitution, Oxford, Hart, 2009.

5 B. Delanoë, 'Preface' in United Cities and Local Governments-World Bank. 1st UCLG World Report on Decentralization and Local Democracy in the World, Barcelona, UCGL, 2008.

6 Finding, op.cit.

7 G. Lodge, ‘Mayors and democratic renewal in England’, in Gash, T., Sims, S. What can elected mayors do for our cities, London: Institute for Government, 2012, p.30.

8 Lewisham, Newham, Hackney, Mansfield, Stoke-on-Trent, Doncaster, North Tyneside, Middlesbrough, Hartlepool, Bedford, Watford, Torbay.

9 Finding, ibid. Table 1. Directly Elected Mayors in England, July 2015.

10 Bristol First, Keep Bristol Independent with George Ferguson, 2016.

11 Joe Smith, 'Will Bristol re-elect the Marmite Mayor', New Statesman, 7 April 2016 - reference to savoury spread you either love or hate.

12 'Your priorities for the next Bristol mayor', Jelena Belec, Bristol 24/7, May 3, 2016.

13 'George Ferguson odds on favourite for mayor', Bristol24/7, April 28, 2016.

14 Eligible electorate: 316,765. Votes cast: 142,120 ; Turnout: 44.87%. Bristol Returning Officer.

15 Roger Hambleton, David Sweeting, The Bristol Civic Leadership Project, The Impacts of Mayoral Governance in Bristol, University of Bristol, University of the West of England, ESRC, September 2015.

16 The supplementary voting system is used for all direct elections of mayors. Voters make two choices. If a candidate received more than 50 % of the first choice votes, s/he would be directly elected. If not, the two top candidates' second choice votes would be added to determine who had the most votes. Candidates coming second before the second round have been elected mayor with the majority of votes due to the large number of second-choice votes they received.

17 John Harris, 'Bristol mayor Marvin Rees: ‘My dad arrived to signs saying: No Irish, no blacks, no dogs’ ', Guardian, 23 May 2016.

18 Editorial, 'The Guardian view on political careers: anywhere but Westminster', The Guardian, 20 May 2016.

19 Bristol City Council, Performance, Information and Intelligence Service, Deprivation in Bristol 2015, Bristol City Council, 2015.

20 Mayoral Election result 2016, Election results by count detail and ward, Bristol City Council, https://www.bristol.gov.uk/documents/20182/34660/Mayoral+election+2016+results+by+count+table/705209e9-cdf0-4ed1-80c6-1d7265feb38b accessed 26 July 2016.

21 For example Operation Black Vote, http://www.obv.org.uk/news-blogs/marvin-rees-bristols-first-black-mayor-0, accessed 10 August 2016.

22 Alexandra Sims, 'Bristol elects Labour's Marvin Rees as new mayor', The Independent, 7 May 2016.

23 Bristol City Council Election Results 1995-2011, https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwA-5RleSBydOS11WmRkNk9MSkE/view?pref=2&pli=1, accessed 26 July 2016. Colin Rallings and Michael Thrasher, The Elections Centre, Plymouth University.

24 'Corbyn in Bristol to congratulate new mayor', Louis Emanuel, Bristol 24/7, May 7, 2016.

25 Wills Memorial Building and Tower (tobacco merchant), Colston Hall (slave-trader) In 2017, the Bristol Music Trust decided the latter's name would be changed after renovation following protests.

26 Bristol, Doncaster, Hackney, Leicester, Lewisham, Liverpool, London, Middlesborough, Newham, North Tyneside, Salford, Tower Hamlets, http://www.citymayors.com/mayors/british-mayors.html.

27 Respectively Watford, Bedford, Copeland, Mansfield, Torbay.

28 Sims,The Independent, 7 May 2016.

29 Summary of the Cities and Local Government Devolution Act 2016, www.parliament.uk.

30 Andrew Bounds, Chris Tighe '‘Metro mayors’ in England face curbs on power', Financial Times, May 16, 2016.

31 Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham, Sheffield. https://www.corecities.com.

32 Prime Minister’s Office, ‘Scottish Independence Referendum: Statement by the Prime Minister’, 19 September 2014.

33 Cabinet Office, The Deputy Prime Minister's Office, 2010 to 2015 Government Policy: City Deals and Growth Policy, (Policy paper) 2013 (updated 2015). Mike Sergeant, 'Six biggest English cities get extra powers', BBC News, 5 July 2012.

34 Speech by George Osborne, Chancellor, 14 May 2015, Victoria Warehouse, Manchester, HM Treasury.

35 Chris Stokel-Walker. 'What is the Northern Powerhouse ?' BBC News, Magazine, 14 May 2015.

36 Edward Molloy,'A Democratic Northern Powerhouse', Posted 9th July 2015, https://www.electoral-reform.org.uk/blog/democratic-northern-powerhouse.

37 Katie Ghose, Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society, 'Devolution: power to the people', Public Finance, 17 June 2015,

http://www.publicfinance.co.uk/opinion/2015/06/devolution-power-people.

38 Sergeant, op.cit.

39 'Devolution deals. Merseyside and West Midlands to have elected Mayors', BBC News, 17 November 2015, Liverpool.

40 Finding, op.cit.

41 House of Commons, Communities and Local Government Committee, Devolution: the next five years and beyond, First Report of Session 2015–16, 25 January 2016, p.32, §70.

42 Kate Allen, Chris Tighe, Sarah Neville, 'Osborne’s devolution plans hit by dissenting councils', Financial Times, March 24, 2016.

43 H. Pickstock, 'Council says no to £1 billion metro mayor and devolution deal', Bristol Post, Posted: June 07, 2016.

44 ComRes, Centre for Cities / 2017 Mayoral Research - Survey of adults in Greater Manchester, Liverpool city-region, Sheffield city-region, the North East, Tees Valley and the West Midlands on perceptions of the 2017 elections for mayor in these city-regions (25th April and 3rd May 2016), 12 May 2016, http://www.comres.co.uk/polls/centre-for-cities-2017-mayoral-research/ accessed 26 July 2016.

45 Bounds & Tighe, ' Metro Mayors…', op.cit. This paper was written prior to the Grenfell Tower tragedy (June 2017) which brought both the issue of social housing and that of local council responsibility to the fore.

46 Luke Walton, '£30m devolution deal with North East mayor gets backing', BBC News, 17 May 2016.

47 Janet Sillett, 'It’s all eyes on the metro mayor prize', May 27, 2016, (Local Government Information Unit) http://www.lgiu.org.uk/2016/05/27/it-all-eyes-on-the-metro-mayor-prize/at accessed 26 July 2016.

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Table des illustrations

Titre Map 1 Bristol wards local election results (councillors) 2016
Légende Key : Red : Labour ; Blue : Conservative ; Green : Greens, Yellow : LibDems.
Crédits Source : Bristol wards 2016.png, Creative Commons, 8 May 2016.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/osb/docannexe/image/1994/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 52k
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Susan Finding, « Bristol fashion ? Leadership and local politics in England and the power of democratically-elected mayors : an epiphenomenon or a national trend ? », Observatoire de la société britannique, 20 | 2018, 85-100.

Référence électronique

Susan Finding, « Bristol fashion ? Leadership and local politics in England and the power of democratically-elected mayors : an epiphenomenon or a national trend ? », Observatoire de la société britannique [En ligne], 20 | 2018, mis en ligne le 01 septembre 2018, consulté le 19 octobre 2018. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/osb/1994 ; DOI : 10.4000/osb.1994

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Susan Finding

Professeur de civilisation britannique à l'Université de Poitiers

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