Digby Jones has ruled himself out as a candidate to be Birmingham’s first elected mayor – after insisting there should be a West Midlands-wide role.
Digby. Lord Jones of Birmingham, a former trade minister and director general of the CBI, said he had no plans to stand as a candidate for the new role – but still backed the mayor proposal.
He said an elected mayor should represent the West Midlands region as a whole – and not just in Birmingham.
“If we don’t lift our ambitions up to the horizons of the West Midlands, and as opposed to just Birmingham, we will really miss a trick,” he told the BBC’s Sunday Politics West Midlands.
The picture is starting to become clearer as to who will stand for the elected role, with Gisela Stuart, Sion Simon and Sir Albert Bore expected to be the Labour candidates.
Elsewhere, MP John Hemming may stand as a Liberal Democrat – although opposes the elected mayor role – and Tory council leader Mike Whitby has let it be known that he could yet stand, without admitting so publicly.
However, speaking to the BBC Lord Jones said while he will not be standing, Lord Jones said he would “campaign vigorously” for an elected mayor because he “believes in the principle”.
Elections for mayors in 10 of England’s biggest cities could happen on November 15 and if voters approve the change then referendums are scheduled for May 3.