Town votes to keep its elected mayor system by large margin

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VOTERS in Doncaster yesterday voted to keep the town’s controversial directly-elected mayoral system, despite a “no” campaign waged by the Labour party.

The town’s electorate voted by a margin of 61.7 per cent in favour of keeping the elected mayor model, which is how the council is currently run, with 37.8 per cent voting against.

Turnout for the vote, which was called after a petition was presented to Doncaster Council, was 30 per cent, with a total of 42,196 people voting to keep the system, and 25,879 voting to scrap it.

If the vote had gone the other way, the mayoral system would have been replaced with a model which would see a council leader elected by the majority party, in Doncaster’s case Labour.

Current elected mayor Peter Davies, an English Democrat,who has one year of his four-year term of office left, was not at the count to see the result. But it was welcomed by members of his party who campaigned for the system.

The English Democrats’ Doncaster election co-ordinator Roy Penketh, who unsuccessfully stood for election himself in the town’s Wheatley ward said: “The people have spoken.

“People want the mayoral system in Doncaster and we will be fielding a candidate in next year’s mayoral vote and it will probably be Peter Davies because of his track record.”

The leader of Doncaster’s Labour group, Sandra Holland, who will now stand down from her post to concentrate on constituency work, said she was “disappointed” at the result.

She added: “The people have made their choice and we now have to move forward for the good of Doncaster.”

Last night the chief executive of Doncaster Council, Jo Miller, said: “The referendum has now settled the question of Doncaster’s future political governance, which is good. Now this is settled, it’s all about the council and its partners working together for the best of our town and its people.”