Plans for a new combined authority should be put on hold so the public can be consulted, according to an MP.
Steve McCabe (Lab, Selly Oak) warned council leaders they had no mandate to press ahead with a new over-arching council without the backing of the public
He called for a local “convention” bringing together community organisations and civic bodies to ensure the that politicians and the media weren’t the only people involved in deciding how the region should be governed.
He said: “Where is the voice of ordinary people saying what they want?
“We need to start talking to people and to civic society about how they see this developing.
“We can’t have the politicos telling everyone else how it is going to be.
“Instead, we need to ask folk what it is they are looking for.”
Creating a combined authority would probably lead to changes to other official local bodies, he said.
He also warned against creating a mayor and pointed out that Birmingham voters not only rejected a mayor in a referendum in 2012 but also in a “consultative” referendum in 2001.
In the 2001 poll, voters were to choose between two different mayoral systems or no mayor at all. The most popular of the three options was not to have a mayor, backed by 45 per cent.
While this result was open to interpretation, the 2012 referendum had a clear majority against a mayor, with 58 per cent voting “no” to the idea.
However, it appears that ministers are keen to encourage cities and city regions to think again – and this time to create a mayor without a referendum.
Manchester voters also rejected a mayor in 2012 but the ten councils in the Greater Manchester combined authority have now agreed to create a mayor as part of a deal with the Government giving them devolved powers worth £1 billion.
“Before we go any further down this road, I would like to know that we are going to ask people what they want,” Mr McCabe added.