Time for change

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HARTLEPOOL Labour MP Iain Wright said the mayoral system has not lived up to expectations.

Mr Wright said the directly-elected role had not achieved what it had set out to, and the time is right for a change.

He said: “One argument for the elected mayor was that it would give a very clear focal point for democracy and accountability.

“My experience is people don’t think that.

“I think more councillors should be involved in the range of decisions for the council rather than a narrow elite group of people.

“I wasn’t surprised at the outcome of the referendum. I think the town wished to move away from the mayoral system.”

Mr Wright also said he felt the system – introduced by his own party when they were in power nationally – did not give Hartlepool a bigger voice in the Government.

He said: “If that’s the case, why have two areas of the North-East got the worst level of cuts, namely Middlesbrough and Hartlepool, both of which have independent mayors?

“I think people in Hartlepool have thought it’s time for a change when it comes to the manner their council is governed.”

Mr Wright added the low turnout was a concern and questioned holding the election in November.