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Hammersmith & Fulham leader hits back against mayoral plan

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The Labour leader of Hammersmith & Fulham LBC has attacked Conservative proposals to introduce a mayoral system in the borough.

As LGC reported on Wednesday, Chelsea and Fulham MP Greg Hands (Con), a former chief secretary to the Treasury, is spearheading the campaign to switch from a leader and cabinet model to an executive mayor system in the borough, claiming that a directly elected mayor would be “more accountable, more democratic and more effective”.

But Hammersmith & Fulham leader Stephen Cowan has hit back, saying the ”expensive plan to tinker with the electoral system is not the solution to their electoral woes”.

Cllr Cowan accused the Conservatives of having an ulterior motive for attempting to change the political structure.

He said: ”We believe this is because [Mr Hands] knows we’re targeting his seat and have a very good chance of taking it from him at the next general election.”

”He wrongly appears to believe this will distract us from our task of unseating him.”

Last week, the Conservatives launched a petition on the issue, which will be put to a local referendum if 5% of residents back the plan.

Stephen Greenhalgh, a former deputy London mayor to Boris Johnson and leader of the council from 2006 to 2012, has been tipped as the Conservative candidate for a potential future mayoral race. 

In London, the elected mayoral system is currently used at Hackney, Newham, Lewisham and Tower Hamlets LBCs.

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