Minister slams attempt to ban Mayor’s ‘bling’

A ban on the Mayor of Mansfield wearing ceremonial chains of office has been branded “plain silly” by a coalition Minister.

Local Government Minister Brandon Lewis defended the use of the historic “bling”, accusing the Labour-dominated local council of “political correctness”.

Tony Egginton became the Nottinghamshire town’s first elected mayor in 2002.

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Standing as an independent, he secured a third term in office in 2011, beating the Labour candidate by just 67 votes.

He has been known for high-profile ceremonial appearances, such as presenting double Olympic champion Rebecca Adlington with a pair of golden Jimmy Choo shoes in 2008.

However, the leader of the council’s Labour group, Martin Lee, has insisted the council chairman should wear the ornate gold civic chains rather than the mayor.

He is reported to have accused Mr Egginton of “parading around in bling”. The chains have been locked in a safe until the dispute is resolved.

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Mr Lewis said: “Where councils have historic civic regalia, I believe they should be worn with pride.”

He added: “Allowing the elected mayor to wear the chain seems a sensible and practical arrangement which no doubt makes sense to local people.”