Independent South Tyneside Councillors petition for elected mayor
Written by Nathan Bell on 17th February 2023
Half a dozen independent South Tyneside councillors are petitioning for an elected mayor in the area.
Cllr Glenn Thompson has spearheaded the campaign because he is unhappy that the ongoing process for the North East to elect a regional mayor is not democratic.
The petition, which is supported by Cllrs Paul Brenen, David Kennedy, Paul Milburn, Keith Roberts and John Robertson, will be delivered to residents in the near future.
More than 300 supporters have signed up so far, with the trigger for a referendum in the area more than 16 times that number – 5,676 need to show their support before real change can happen.
The petition reads: “By choosing a new governance arrangement in establishing an Elected Mayor for South Tyneside, it potentially changes everything – immediately, an Elected Mayor for South Tyneside would be selected by the people and this Elected Mayor would have significant executive powers (unlike the current Mayor who is solely a ceremonial Mayor).”
Cllr Paul Brenen, independent councillor for Westoe, told Spark: “My aim ultimately is to give the people the final say on any devolution of power for a regional Mayor.
“As opposition Councillors we are frozen out of this decision and it’s only taken by the cabinet members of the authorities involved. This isn’t democracy. Left with little choice we aim to go the elected mayoral route for South Tyneside in a bid to give people the final say on any devolution of powers.
“I am sure there are benefits and pitfalls in any devolution deal but this decision is just too big for it to be made behind closed doors.”
“We have just started the online petition and it’s [at] around 350 [signatures]. In the coming days we have 10,000 leaflets going out. Our aim is to get the 5,600 needed to trigger the process.”
Do you support the councillors’ petition? Tweet @SparkSunderland to let us know and join the discussion.