Bristol

Bristol mayor: George Ferguson elected to lead city

  • 16 November 2012
  • From the section Bristol

A man who set up his own political party to stand out on the ballot paper has become the first directly-elected mayor of Bristol.

George Ferguson won with a total of 37,353 votes, 6,094 more than Labour's Marvin Rees in second place.

The two candidates went through to a second round of counting after neither had over 50% of first preference votes.

The turnout was 28%, which was higher than in the May referendum when Bristol voted for the new post.

'We deserve it'

After being declared winner, Mr Ferguson, 65, said the result was "a mandate".

He said: "I believe that today we voted for a new way of doing things. I don't see this as a vote for me - I see it as a vote for Bristol.

George Ferguson set up the Bristol 1st party to distinguish himself from other independents

"I want to use that mandate to go and ask the prime minister and the government in general for more powers for Bristol and for more resources. I think we deserve it.

"We have delivered what they wanted, now they have got to deliver what we want."

He said he was "honoured" to be a servant and invited voters to judge him by what he does.

An architect famous for always wearing red trousers, Mr Ferguson also owns restaurants and bars in Bristol and has lived in the city for almost 50 years.

He set up the Bristol 1st party so that he could be distinguished from other independent candidates on the ballot paper.

However, he has pledged to dissolve the party - of which he is the only member - once the election is over.

Mr Ferguson finished his victory speech by paying tribute to Marvin Rees, "a great guy" who came in second place.

The Labour candidate said he had "failed today" but the real challenge was about what to do next.

"There is a greater good in my not achieving this today, so that people can see that we keep going," he said.

The result confirms that the Liberal Democrat party has lost control of the authority.

'Obviously disappointing'

Jon Rogers, the authority's deputy leader, came fourth in the race with 6,202 of the total number of counted votes.

He said: "It is obviously disappointing but it has been a really interesting few weeks.

"Essentially people decided that George Ferguson was a better bet and they wanted an independent this time so we have to accept the view of the electorate."

A former lord mayor of the city, Conservative Geoff Gollop, said it was an "interesting" result after coming third with 8,136 votes.

"It's a sign of the fact that people are seriously disillusioned with what they see as mainstream politics," he added.

"What is extraordinary is that, after a fantastic campaign, even the Green candidate was actually brought into the same consideration."

In May, 24% turned out to vote in the referendum, with 41,032 in favour of a mayor and 35,880 against.

Turnout across Bristol for the mayoral election varied from 42.64% in Henleaze to 11.21% in Hartcliffe.

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