Labour's Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby rejects 'Red Leicester' barb

Mayor of Leicester, Sir Peter Soulsby Mayor Soulsby is about to name his cabinet and set out his priorities

Leicester's become the largest city outside of London to elect its first ever directly-elected mayor, but what can the people of Leicester expect from the politician who's got the top job?

Now Mayor Soulsby is about to name his cabinet and set out his early priorities. Sir Peter Soulsby is not short of a mandate.

In last week's mayoral vote, he saw off 10 rival candidates to win 53% of the popular vote on the first round alone.

It's a powerful role, but there are already some concerns about scrutiny. Labour now has 52 of the city council's 54 seats.

'Held to account'

Red Leicester? There's only one Conservative and one Liberal Democrat. Under current rules, his cabinet has to be made up of elected councillors.

When I spoke to Sir Peter, he explained how he would seek to broaden his administration.

"It will be a Labour-dominated cabinet but that's not the only way a mayor can work."

"The mayor must be held to account and one of my first priorities is to work with colleagues from all parties to set up proper scrutiny systems," he said.

"It will be important as mayor that I have advisers and helpers who are not just councillors. And the new Localism Bill will allow me to bring into the cabinet a wider pool of talent."

Sir Peter stood down as the MP for Leicester South to run for mayor. But it'll be his experience from his years as council leader that means he'll hit the ground running.

Revisiting council plans

He's not going public quite yet on what we can expect in his first 100 days in office, but he has a plan and a change agenda.

Start Quote

At the top of my agenda has got to be partnership, and working with business, the trade unions and all of those in the city to bring wealth and investment into Leicester.”

End Quote Mayor Soulsby

"At the top of my agenda has got to be partnership, and working with business, the trade unions and all of those in the city to bring wealth and investment into Leicester."

The city council already plans to lose 1,000 jobs over the next few years because of coalition government-ordered spending cuts. Mayor Soulsby has hinted at revisiting council budget plans.

"There are some savage cuts being made in Leicester. I have given a firm understanding that I will re-examine those budget decisions. Protecting front-line services is a must," he added.

When it comes to scrutinising the mayor, he'll find his daughter Elly showing a particular close interest. She's also just been elected to a new role for the first time... as a city councillor.

John Hess Article written by John Hess John Hess Political editor, East Midlands

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  • rate this

    Comment number 12.

    Oh goody, comments still open. No, academe and Pensioner1948 reading local newspaper was not the only way the council put forward the consultation on the mayor - it was all over the city, the idea that anyone with the slightest bit of interest in the city didn't know about is ludicrous.

  • rate this

    Comment number 11.

    ed allen
    The majority of us as evidenced by the results of the recent election are also glad that you don't live in Leicester, as your views on democracy seem to be based on if I lose its wrong if I win its OK typical tory double standards.

  • rate this

    Comment number 10.

    There seems to been awful lot of spiteful tories on this blog, pity you didn't go out and vote the result might have been different. Or was it because you were ashamed of the total mess that the present ConDem government has proved to be to date and as a consequence had little belief in your party's policies of make the poorest pay

  • rate this

    Comment number 9.

    well the city council voted to have an elected mayor without a referendum. the councillors have no power and the power is with peter soulsby. labour mayor and labour cabinet, leicester is screwed.

    The cabinet will consist of a deputy mayor and six assistant mayors all labour why so many assistants, jobs for the boys/girls?

    thank god i dont live in leicester.

  • rate this

    Comment number 8.

    The outcome is a disaster and fraudulent with the unscrupulous Labour Party in the City gerrymandering the consultation and voting process rather than holding a proper referendum in the City which would have provided a longer period for debate of the key issues and policies. The other stroke that's been pulled is the dismissal of the impact on the County where the people do not vote for Labour.


Comments 5 of 12



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