Councillors to discuss 'mayor idol'

A NEW way of electing a mayor based on a points system will be considered by a council in Suffolk this week.Currently the majority party at Ipswich Borough Council nominates a member to be mayor but Liberal Democrat councillor Richard Atkins, wants the system changed.

A NEW way of electing a mayor based on a points system will be considered by a council in Suffolk this week.

Currently the majority party at Ipswich Borough Council nominates a member to be mayor but Liberal Democrat councillor Richard Atkins, wants the system changed.

He said: "We have all become councillors because we want to make Ipswich a better place. No party has a monopoly on good ideas and there have been good things from all the parties.

"We would like to see a system that everybody understands and is fair rather than keeping the privilege to the majority party."


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Mr Atkins said he would like all parties, no matter how small their membership, to be able to put forward a candidate for mayor, ending the Labour Party's 20-year possession of the title.

"The idea is to rotate between parties according to their representation and councillors would accumulate points.

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"We are not only thinking about ourselves here. We might have one member of the Green Party standing for elections but why does the party that had barely 30% of the vote last year get to pick the mayor?"

The points system would work by allocating one point for each councillor a party has in each year. When the scheme starts this would be backdated by two or three years.

The party providing the mayor for the year would have points deducted equal to the total councillors on the council, reducing their chances of having the title the next year.

Also, no party would be able to go into a points overdraft that is more than 50% of their points for that year.

Mr Atkins wants the councillors to consider at their meeting on Wednesday whether the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, which he is a member of, should appoint a panel to formulate rules for a new scheme.

It would look at ways to reward councillors with long-service to Ipswich with the title of mayor, he said.

But Peter Gardiner, leader of the Labour-controlled council, said: "We haven't looked at in detail but from the few brief words I have had with members of the party the system looks far too complex to understand let alone put into operation.

"At the moment the ruling group puts someone forward to them. There would have to be a strong arrangement to shift from that; a viable, workable alternative."

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