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BIRMINGHAM GETS GO-AHEAD FOR MAYORAL REFERENDUM

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Birmingham City Council has given the go-ahead for a referendum on a directly elected mayor. The referendum will b...
Birmingham City Council has given the go-ahead for a referendum on a directly elected mayor. The referendum will be held by October 2001 and if the city votes for a mayor, elections will be scheduled for 2002.

The council has promised to produce a green paper on reform, setting out proposals for improving community involvement in local government, and looking at options for establishing parish councils and local referendums.

Leader Albert Bore said: 'Birmingham needs to create a lively neighbourhood democracy and get more people involved in decisions about the public life of the city. The green paper will take us clearly in this direction and give everyone in the city a chance to contribute to our radical ideas.'

The reforms were among key recommendations of the city's democracy commission revealed by LGC (23 June).

Member Chris Game welcomed the council's decision: 'It's an explicit recognition of much of what we wanted to draw people's attention to.' Mr Bore has long supported the move and is thought a likely candidate for mayor. His work in piloting the proposals through the council may boost his stock with fellow members ahead of next month's group leadership elections.

Mr Bore faces competition from Stewart Stacey and Mick Rice.

The Conservatives accused Mr Bore and his group of kicking the mayoral issue into the long grass.

The motion agreed by the council says it is 'minded' to hold a

referendum and that it accepts the 'sense and spirit' of the commission's mayoral proposals.

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