One of the leading opponents of the new post of West of England Mayor has urged his constituents to turn out and vote in the West of England Combined Authority Mayoral election on Thursday, 4th May.
North East Somerset MP, Jacob Rees-Mogg, campaigned against the post, arguing it was unnecessary and a dangerous step towards the restoration of the much-loathed Avon County Council.
However, he is now calling for North East Somerset voters to turn out and vote to prevent the election being determined by Labour votes in Bristol, which is easily the largest authority in the West of England.
Jacob Rees-Mogg said: “I remain opposed to this concept. In particular, I am concerned it is going to lead to a return to the past mistakes and failure of Avon County Council.
“However, that concern would become a reality if the election is won by Labour, which is Bristol dominated.
“That outcome would be hugely detrimental to my constituents on key issues, including protection of the green belt and stopping communities like Keynsham being subsumed into Bristol.
“If my constituents do not vote, Labour will win by default and probably by the votes of Bristol alone. In that situation they will feel empowered to ignore the interests of North East Somerset.
“So I urge my constituents to join me in voting for Tim Bowles to stop Labour Bristol winning and starting a march to return to Avon.”
The West of England Combined Authority will see a Mayor, voted for on 4th May, overseeing a devolution deal for the West of England. They will work with Council leaders in Bristol, South Glos and B&NES on a variety of projects such as
regeneration and transport. Council leaders in all three areas have stated they do not want a return to Avon.
There are six candidates for the role of Mayor:
Tim Bowles, Conservative, Darren Hall, Greens, Lesley Mansell, Labour, Stephen Williams, Lib-Dem, John Savage, Independent and Aaron Foot, UKIP.
The Mayoral election will be followed a month later by a General Election on 8th June.
More on the Mayoral Election on our Letters page on Page 2 and Pages 20 & 21.