Bristol mayor: George Ferguson elected to lead city

Bristolian George Ferguson is new mayor of city

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 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.

Analysis

George Ferguson chose not to make big policy commitments in his campaign - knowing the mayor must work within a shrinking budget.

He has however promised to deliver an arena for the city, intends to ask government for powers to curb the expansion of supermarkets and to ask for permission to found an integrated transport authority.

He has two other big tasks to tackle over the next few days. He must form a cabinet made up of councillors who belong to political parties and he must find at least £26m to cut from the council budget.

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.

George Ferguson winner

Candidate Party Final total % Status

Turnout: 27.92%

George Ferguson

Bristol 1st

37,353

Elected

Marvin Rees

Labour

31,259

First round

Candidate

Party

1st pref

%

2nd pref

George Ferguson

Bristol 1st

31,321

35.13

6,032

Marvin Rees

Labour

25,896

29.05

5,363

Geoff Gollop

Conservative

8,136

9.13

Jon Rogers

Liberal Democrat

6,202

6.96

Daniella Radice

Green

5,248

5.89

Owain George

Independent

2,404

2.70

Spud Murphy

Independent

1,855

2.08

Neil Maggs

Respect

1,568

1.76

Stoney Garnett

Independent

1,413

1.58

Tom Baldwin

TUSC

1,412

1.58

Tim Collins

Independent

1,037

1.16

Philip Pover

Independent

994

1.11

Tony Britt

Independent

761

0.85

Rich Fisher

Independent

494

0.55

Dave Dobbs

The Birthday Party

411

0.46

More on This Story

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

BBC Bristol

Weather

Bristol

19 °C 15 °C

Features

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.