When news happens text pix and video to 80360. Start your message with BE then leave a space.
Why are Bournemouth's mayors all Tories, asks councillor
12:00pm Thursday 7th March 2013 in News
BOURNEMOUTH’S ruling Conservative party has been accused of “politicising” the role of Mayor as this year’s incumbent was confirmed.
Speaking to the Daily Echo ahead of the full council meeting on Tuesday night, Independent councillor Sue Levell said she had nothing against the new Mayor, Cllr Rod Cooper, but there was a “gentleman’s agreement” that Mayors should be elected based on their length of service.
She accused the Conservatives of favouring their own and added: “It is a real shame that the present Conservative administration have politicised the Mayoralty and in doing so have sent a very clear message to the town’s residents.
“Councillors who have served the town longer will be swept aside, not because of their ability to perform the role, but because of the lack of blue rosette.”
She called the situation a show of “no regard for equality or diversity”.
Cllr Levell was proposed as an alternative candidate for Mayor, as was Labour councillor Dennis Gritt, but the Conservatives’ large majority in the council chamber saw Cllr Cooper unsurprisingly elected.
As per protocol, there was no debate on the subject.
Cllr Cooper, who was elected to the council in 2007, said he hoped to serve the town well.
He added that he looked forward to having outgoing Mayor Cllr Phil Stanley-Watts as his deputy, joking that he would delegate the task of running in the town’s inaugural marathon to the keen athlete.
Cllr Gritt congratulated Cllr Cooper after the decision, while Cllr Levell, who could have spoken after the vote but chose not to, said before the meeting that six of the last eight Mayors had been Conservative.
Bournemouth’s last non-Tory Mayor was Beryl Baxter in 2009/10.
Council leader John Beesley did not respond to a request for comment yesterday.