Dear Editor, As a retired English teacher, I do object to Paul Dale’s reference to Mike Whitby becoming “Birmingham’s first directly elected mayor” after the election for leader of the minority Conservative Group (32.5% of the council). (Post, May 12)
If (and only if) next year’s proposed referendum resulted in the Birmingham electorate agreeing to have a directly elected mayor, the first one would be elected in 2013 (note the correct use of the word “elected”).
What the government is proposing is that a minority party leader should be an imposed interim mayor from later this year until 2013.
There is, however, another crucial “if” to consider. The Government’s intentions depend upon a misnamed “Localism” Bill getting through parliament unamended this summer. Even this coalition Government might be embarrassed enough to withdraw the blatantly undemocratic proposals for imposed mayors in it, especially with the situation in Birmingham.
Councillor Whitby clearly has no mandate to govern the city as a Government imposed supremo, whether or not Labour were to take control in 2012, but were that to happen, the banana republic situation would make a farce of any pretensions the Government has to localism.