Responding to the announcement of a West of England mayoral authority, South Gloucestershire Council’s Labour Group Leader, Councillor Pat Rooney, said:
“We support the principle of devolving powers and resources down from central government to local decision-makers, but we do believe that South Gloucestershire voters should be given the opportunity to vote on an issue as important as the creation of a West of England mayoral authority.
This authority will include a new and powerful metro mayor, and voters should have a direct say on that. Previous mayoral schemes required approval through a referendum but the Conservative Government has scrapped that requirement, presumably because people might vote the ‘wrong’ way.
The EU referendum on 23rd June provides an ideal opportunity to conduct a proper ballot of voters at marginal extra cost because the polling stations will be open and staffed anyway. I will be arguing for South Gloucestershire Council to run an indicative ballot to coincide with the EU referendum before it approves this West of England mayoral authority.”