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 special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • 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

Recruitment Genius: Sales Manager

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity to...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Manager - Production

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Trainee Managers are required to join the UK's...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Manager

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will maximise the effective...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + uncapped commission : SThree: Hello! I know most ...

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss