A symbol of authority or anachronistic bling? Whatever, the Mayor of Mansfield wants his chains back

Opponents say civic jewels should be in a museum and have ordered that they are locked up in council safe

Fashioned from 18ct gold and featuring an array of heraldic symbols, jewels and shields they would not seem out of place adorning the necks of rappers Lil Wayne of 50 Cent.

But the Mayor of Mansfield insists that his ceremonial chains are not items of anachronistic "bling" after being stripped of the historic baubles by a group of Labour councillors.

Supporters of independent former newsagent Tony Egginton accused the party, whose candidates he has defeated in the last three elections, of partisan small-mindedness for voting in favour of the ban.

In what is becoming an increasingly bad tempered and personal spat, Mr Egginton's opponents have now ordered that the civic jewels are locked up in a council safe until the dispute is resolved.

Labour leader Martin Lee however, denied the move was driven by sour grapes.

He said the chains were under the control of a group of councillors who represented the former Nottinghamshire mining town before local government reorganisation in 1974 and that they should be rightfully worn by its Labour chair - not an executive mayor - if anyone at all.

"My preference is that this should be a relic from a bygone age and I think it should be on display at Mansfield Museum and if appropriate made available to the chair of the council," said Mr Lee.

"It is a question of defining what the role should be. Rather than parading around in bling he should really be concentrating on doing the job. You should be judged on how well you can do that rather than how well you can dangle chains around your neck. It is an anachronism," he added.

Mr Egginton, who was previously the president of the National Federation of Retail Newsagents, was a political novice before he became Mansfield's first directly elected mayor on a salary of £65,000 in 2002 ending 30 years of Labour rule on the council.

During that time he has worn the chains - first presented to the town's first citizen in 1891 as a gift by the Duke of Portland - at a number of high profile media events.

These included the civic reception and open top bus ride for double Olympic champion swimmer Rebecca Adlington in 2008 when he presented her with a pair of gold Jimmy Choo shoes.

Mr Egginton, whose official website describes his "strong and charismatic" leadership, said people in the town, especially children, enjoyed seeing the mayor in his regalia.

Supporter Stewart Rickersey, a local businessman who stood unsuccessfully for Parliament as an independent in 2005, supporter, said the Labour ban was a "concerted effort" to embarrass the mayor.

"There is bad blood without a doubt. I have been to the last three or four council meetings and the tone of these meetings is offensive and vitriolic. They describe him as the most expensive ribbon cutter in the country which is a really cheap shot. It has got nothing to do with the more efficient running of the council," he said.

"We have a number of very aggressive people in particular who are just looking to screw the Mayor," he added.

The row has been referred to the Local Government Ombudsman but it is unlikely to be able to act.

Mansfield was one of 16 local authority areas to vote to introduce directly elected mayors in 2002 under legislation introduced by the then Labour Government.  Mr Egginton is not expected to stand at the next election.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Recruitment Consultant / Account Manager - Surrey / SW London

£40000 per annum + realistic targets: Ashdown Group: A thriving recruitment co...

Ashdown Group: Part-time Payroll Officer - Yorkshire - Professional Services

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful professional services firm is lo...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before