Vote ‘shows confidence in existing system’

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VOTERS in Wakefield voted against having an elected mayor in a turnout of just under 29 per cent.

In total 45,357 - 62 per cent - voted for the status quo and 27,610 (just under 38 per cent) backed the idea of an elected mayor.

Labour council leader Coun Peter Box – who kept his own seat – said: “This is a clear endorsement that the people of Wakefield are satisfied with how the council is currently run and want us to continue with what we are trying to achieve.

“However, if the Government thinks that this referendum result means that the people of Wakefield will not have a strong voice, they could not be more wrong.

“The council will continue to stand up for the people of the district and to represent the interests of our communities on local, regional and national platforms.”

“Both this result and the result of the local elections show that the people of Wakefield have confidence in their council and I look forward to taking our policies forward, even though we continue to face tough times in the months ahead.”

Supporters of an elected mayor said a “lack of clarity” had led to confusion among the electorate.

Arnie Craven, a member of Ukip who stood in Wakefield’s Airedale and Ferry Fryston ward, said: “When I was out campaigning people simply were unclear about the powers that the mayor would have – the blame for that can be laid at central government.

“People were saying they liked the idea but they didn’t know what the position would be about.”