Manchester rejects elected mayor

Votes being counted in Manchester Photo: ITV Granada

Voters in Manchester have rejected the idea of having an elected mayor.

It means the city will continue to be run by a council leader and an executive board.

Manchester City Council leader Cllr Sir Richard Leese said: "Although at times it looked like it was quite close, in the end it was quite a clear majority of something like 7%.

"A majority of people said 'no, we don't what change, we want Manchester to continue to be run the way it's been run over the past decade or so'."

Just a quarter (24.71%) of eligible voters turned out for the election, with only 91,270 votes cast.

More than half of voters (48,593; 53.24%) chose to keep the Leader and executive model.

The elected mayor option polled 42,677 (46.76%).

It means the city joins Bradford, Nottingham and Coventry in rejecting the idea of having a mayor.

But it will be different to Liverpool and Salford, which both held mayoral elections last night.

Salford held the poll after a referendum voted in favour of having a mayor, whereas Liverpool's council decided to go straight ahead with a ballot.

Cllr Leese added: "Liverpool didn't of course have a referendum, Salford did - but do three wrongs make a right? Manchester has got it right for a number of years.

"I think we ought to be building on success, rather than accepting imposed solutions from the coalition Government.

"I do get fed up with Whitehall telling local government and local communities how to run their own affairs.

"We have had the mayoral option available for over a decade and by and large Manchester people have said they're not interested."

Housing Minister Grant Shapps defended the mayoral referendums. He told Sky News: "People should have the right to decide how they are governed in their local area.

"The whole point is to give people a say. No-one is forcing mayors on anyone."