Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Leicester Labour deselects its mayor's leading critic

The Leicester Mercury reports:
The former leader of Leicester City Council Ross Willmott has been deselected. 
Coun (sic) Willmott is currently a Labour member for the Rushey Mead ward but has not been chosen by local party officials as a candidate in the forthcoming city council elections in May.
Since Sir Peter Soulsby became Leicester's elected mayor, Ross Willmott (as you can see from his blog) has done more than most councillors to hold him to account.

Originally this was as chair of the city council's scrutiny committee, but Leicester Labour ousted him from this role in May 2012. Now he looks like losing his seat on the council.

I am not a fan of elected mayors, and the people of Leicester was not allowed to express their opinion before Labour brought the new system in.

But if you are going to have such a system, then it is vital that councillors are able to hold the mayor to account.

And in Leicester, Labour brought the system in partly because they new the unpopularity of the Coalition government would deliver them a Labour dominated council.

In fact, thanks to the first-past-the-post system, the city ended up with 52 Labour councillors out of 54 (even if a few have flaked away from Labour since then).

The result is that, rather than councillors holding the mayor to account, it is the mayor, via the Labout party whip, who controls the councillors.

As Ross Willmott may just have found out.

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