Letter: Elected mayors

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The Independent Online
Sir: You correctly say that my Private Member's Bill will open the possibility of elected mayors for local authorities ("Shopping for votes in the supermarket", 10 November). However, you confuse me with my namesake, who is a Liberal Democrat peer. I am, in fact, a crossbencher.

As chairman of the House of Lords Select Committee on Relations between Central and Local Government (and as president of the Local Government Association) I was encouraged by the Government to introduce a Bill which would allow democratic innovation in local authorities in England and Wales. This will allow councils not only to draw up proposals for elected mayors and cabinet committees, as your article said, but also the possibility of backbench scrutiny committees and other forms of executive control. The important thing will be for individual councils to develop reforms which are suitable for their own authority and the people who live there.

Turnout at local elections is unacceptably low. My Bill will give councils the opportunity to improve the way they do business in order to revitalise local democracy. An elected mayor is just one way of achieving that.

Lord HUNT OF TANWORTH

House of Lords

London SW1

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