Three mayoral elections will take place a week today. Though the media has fixated on London’s Boris/Brian/Ken campaign, there are contests also to elect the first-ever mayors of Liverpool and Salford. In addition the following cities will hold ballots on 3 May on whether to adopt the elected mayor system: Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Coventry, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham, Sheffield and Wakefield.
Here, in alphabetical order, are the Lib Dem standard-bearers to become mayors of their cities next week…
Richard Kemp — Lib Dem candidate to become Mayor of Liverpool
LIBERAL Democrat Liverpool mayor candidate Richard Kemp is the second longest serving councillor on Liverpool council. The 59-year-old who is currently deputy of the party in Liverpool has held many of the top jobs at the city council. He knows from experience that the city has been ruled by his party or Labour for decades, and the Liverpool mayoral election is not likely to change that. “History speaks for itself. Since 1973 Liverpool has largely elected Liberal Democrats or Labour. The other parties have been bit-part players.” …
He will have been an elected representative in Liverpool for 29 years next month, and next month’s election will be the biggest change to city politics in that time. But as Liverpool is having a mayor Cllr Kemp believes that whoever wins needs a big idea to propel the city forward. “I want us to the be the European Green capital because that pulls together a number of difference things.” … Cllr Kemp’s manifesto includes proposals for a tram link to Liverpool John Lennon Airport from the city centre. He also wants to create a curry mile in Lodge Lane, Toxteth and set up a Liverpool Bond with the aim of raising £100m for infrastructure.
Norman Owen — Lib Dem candidate to become Mayor of Salford
Cllr Owen believes a cross-party cabinet is the only way to move the city forward after forty years of Labour control. “The mayoral team has got to be a broad church. We cannot go back to a one party state. Because if you rub people up the wrong way in this city, you’re always wrong. I can tell you now there’s some people that rub me up the wrong way but they’re not always wrong, sometimes they’re right. For all their griping and moaning and whinging, their strengths are that they don’t give up. You’ve got to be dogged and determined.”
Cllr Owen points to his time running companies both in the UK and abroad as a basis on which he can build to bring inward investment to Salford to mitigate the impact of swingeing cuts. “I’m a forthright person in saying what I believe in. I would bring some sense and sensibility to Salford’s leadership. I would bring a sense of direction.”
Brian Paddick — Lib Dem candidate to become Mayor of London
London born and bred, Mr Paddick began his service with the Met Police as a beat constable in Holloway, north London, and later served in Lambeth, Fulham, Lewisham, Croydon, Notting Hill and Merton. Later, at Scotland Yard itself, he rose to the rank of deputy assistant commissioner – and in the process became the most senior officer in any UK police force to be openly gay. He was official police spokesman in the aftermath of the 7 July bombings in 2005, but left in 2008, according to his mayoral website, over the shooting of innocent Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes at Stockwell Tube station. Mr Paddick subsequently gave evidence at the de Menezes inquest on behalf of the dead man’s family. …
… pledges on policing feature prominently in Mr Paddick’s mayoral manifesto. Instead of sitting “in a cosy prison cell”, he wants offenders back in the areas where they committed their crimes, cleaning up graffiti, repairing broken fences and picking up litter. He also wants to overhaul the way the Met handles rape cases, retraining officers in how to treat victims and appointing representatives of support groups to the mayor’s policing and crime advisory board. Elsewhere on crime and disorder, he has promised to end “racist stop and search” and vowed to remove the power to make such a stop from any officers who “misuse” it. On other policy matters, Mr Paddick has a couple of transport policies likely to prove popular with commuters.
Good luck to them all on 3rd May.