Ministers are threatening to impose a “dictatorship” on Birmingham by giving the city an unelected mayor, an MP has claimed.
Steve McCabe (Lab Selly Oak) hit out at plans to name city council leader Mike Whitby shadow mayor of Birmingham.
Under the government’s plans, he would become shadow mayor later this year to pave the way for an elected mayor in 2013.
But he would have almost all the powers of a fully elected mayor.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr McCabe asked: “Can we have a debate on the financial cost and implications for democracy of the Secretary of State’s appalling plans to impose a non-elected executive mayor on the people of Birmingham without a shred of evidence that they support this form of dictatorship?”
The Government’s Localism Bill states that a local authority’s shadow mayor loses that position only if residents vote against having a mayor, in a referendum due in May 2012; or if someone else is elected in a mayoral election, expected in 2013.
It means Coun Whitby could potentially become shadow mayor this year and continue in office until 2013, even if Labour win control of the city council in 2012.
One key difference between a shadow mayor and an elected mayor is that an elected mayor will also have the power to abolish the post of chief executive and take over that role for himself or herself.