England & Wales Democracy, devolution and governance

Super Thursday and elected mayors


Patrick Wintour reports on the Greg Clark’s plans to hold mayoral and police commissioner elections on the same day – Thursday 15 November, now being called ‘Super Thursday’.

The government’s tactics in bringing forward elections to November seem designed to generate some momentum and interest around the country, as well as forcing the hand of those Councillors and civic leaders who have so far been hostile to the Mayoral model. All the evidence is that politicians who oppose the Mayoral model in referendums struggle to get elected to the post, whereas advocates for the Mayoral role do better.  

Many councils object to government interference in how their cities are run, not least because it has long been legally possible for them to adopt a Mayoral model, but with the exception of Leicester, they’ve chosen not too.   

The real game changer would be if the government spelt out serious new powers that they will grant to City Mayors on areas ranging from the economy to transport, the environment, policing and health.  

The failure to get Whitehall signed up to devolving powers is a sign of how sceptical many Ministers are of city Mayors.