It’s right time to consider a referendum

Before I was elected as mayor in 2013, I visited every ward in North Tyneside, and some residents told me they were unhappy with the way the council was being run.

It was because of this that I promised that I would give people the opportunity to have their say on whether to continue with an elected mayor system.

As I’m now more than halfway through my four-year term, I believe it’s the right time to consider a referendum and give people that choice.

I have asked that this is discussed at the next cabinet meeting on Monday, November 23, and I’d then like full council – all 60 councillors – to consider this.

A referendum will ask whether the council should continue to run as it is now – by a mayor elected directly by all the borough’s voters, or by one of two alternatives.

This could be a leader and cabinet system whereby the leader of the council is elected by the ruling party’s councillors or a leader and committee system with political parties and a leader also selected by the ruling party.

I gave my word I would always encourage local people to get involved in the council’s decision-making. Therefore, before the council considers the options in January, I will be providing consultation opportunities so that you, the residents of North Tyneside, can have your say on how you want the council to be governed.

If the council does decide a referendum should be held, it would take place next May.