Mayoral election should be held at the same time as the General Election

23rd May 2014

Copeland MP, Jamie Reed has called on the Government to hold the election for a directly-elected Mayor in Copeland on the same day as the General Election in 2015.
Following the referendum which resulted in a majority of voters voting in favour of establishing a directly-elected Mayor in Copeland, Jamie Reed MP has written to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to ensure that the election for the new mayor will be held on the same day as the 2015 General Election.
He said:
Holding the ballot for the new Mayor on the same day as the General Election in 2015 is in the best interests of our communities.  Getting the logistics in place for an election is incredibly expensive and it is only logical to hold it on the same day as other elections to ensure tax-payers’ money is used in the most efficient manner.
“This is why I have called on the Government to ensure that this will be the case in Copeland.  
“An election in Autumn this year would be to the benefit of nobody.  In 2012, we saw the elections for Police and Crime Commissioners demonstrate how little appetite there is for people to turnout to vote on cold, wet and dark evenings.  This new form of local government in Copeland deserves to be given a chance to succeed – despite the undoubtedly toxic effects of the government’s austerity programme that the new Mayor will have to face.
“If the Government insist on Copeland holding the election at a time when the people don’t want it, and when the council cannot afford it, they must take full responsibility for its costs and for the potential of a low turnout.”
Jamie Reed’s letter to Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government:
Dear Secretary of State,
As you will be aware, a referendum for the creation of a Directly Elected Mayor was held in Copeland yesterday. The overwhelming view of those who voted was decisively in favour of establishing this position in Copeland.
It is my understanding that, as the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, it is within your power to alter the timetable for the mayoral election that must now take place. Statutory guidance indicates that the mayoral election for Copeland should now be held in October. It is my understanding that both the petitioners who triggered the mayoral referendum and Copeland Borough Council have made representations to your department asking for the mayoral election to be held on the same date as the General Election in 2015. I agree with this request and hope that you will now be able to exercise those powers available to you and accommodate this request.
Copeland Borough Council’s budget has been decimated by government cuts. Copeland, in common with many local authorities in the north of England, has been hit disproportionately hard by the economic policy of austerity. Holding the mayoral election on the same date as the General Election would represent a small but welcome respite for a local authority now barely able to fulfill its statutory responsibilities.
If, for whatever reason, you are unable to accede to the request for the mayoral election to coincide with the General Election, I ask that you consider covering the costs to Copeland Borough Council of holding a mayoral election in October. In considering this, please bear in mind that the turnout for an election in a Cumbrian autumn is likely to be risible; a fact recently illustrated by the elections for the Police and Crime Commissioners. Knowingly inviting such disengagement with the democratic process is in the interests of no one.
I hope that you will be able to carefully consider this request.
I look forward to your reply.
Yours sincerely,

Jamie Reed MP

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