A local vote or one against the powerful: you decideReported by Metro.co.uk on Wednesday, 2 May 2012 (on May 2, 2012)
*Today's the day millions of people can send a message to those in power as mayoral elections - and votes on whether to have one - are held across England.*
Voters will take to the polls today (Picture: Danny Lawson/PA Wire)
The people of Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Coventry, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, Nottingham, Sheffield and Wakefield will decide whether to introduce London-style directly elected mayors.
Liverpool will directly elect a mayor having decided a referendum is not needed first.
London will for the fourth time vote on who should lead a city rated the greatest on Earth not just for business and finance but for tolerance, entertainment and tourism, too.
The candidates running for the London mayoral post spent the final hours of the sometimes bitter campaign trying to drum up last-minute support.
Prime minister David Cameron appealed for voters not to punish the Tories for Britain’s economic woes.
Speaking to ITV News in the garden of 10 Downing Street, Mr Cameron said he hoped people would ‘look at these elections and recognise it’s about electing your local council’.
Ed Miliband told students in Southampton that the government’s priorities were for the ‘rich and powerful’.
The Labour leader said: ‘We saw it in the budget, we see it in their dealings with Rupert Murdoch.’
In a letter to activists, Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg defended his party’s role in the coalition and claimed its local government record ‘shows the difference we make when we run local councils’.
Meanwhile, UKIP campaigners caused a stir when activists were photographed burning a leaflet of openly gay Lib Dem Brian Paddick during a visit to Soho in central London.
A UKIP press officer told the PinkNews that the man burning the photograph was himself gay and the campaigners were burning his image as a Liberal Democrat politician and not as a gay man.
Some 180 councils in England, Scotland and Wales are holding contests for all or some of their seats. Polling stations will remain open until 10pm.
Candidates for Major of London (left to right) Ken Livingstone, Boris Johnson and Brain Paddock during a live Sky News debate at Heron Tower, London. (Picture: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire)
The seven candidates vying to run London explain why you should vote for them today:
BORIS JOHNSON (Con): ‘I believe my plan will make London ever safer – with 1,000 more police and 2,000 for local policing. It will continue our investment in transport. It will help business with low-cost loans. It will create 200,000 jobs over the next four years, while cutting council tax.’
KEN LIVINGSTONE (Labour): ‘I will stand up for Londoners with a fare cut worth £1,000 to the average farepayer, action on soaring rents, loans and grants to help with childcare, an energy co-op to cut household energy costs, and reversing the Tories’ police cuts.’
BRIAN PADDICK (Lib Dem): ‘I will cut fares for those who can least afford to travel, with a one-hour bus ticket, early-bird Tube discounts and part-time season tickets. I will build 360,000 new homes, mostly social housing. And I will give young people a positive alternative to gangs with new Youth Hubs across the city.’
JENNY JONES (Green): ‘A Green London will be a model for the world in addressing climate change, a city more equal, healthy and affordable. By voting Green on the Assembly, Londoners can make sure whoever is elected mayor is held to account and City Hall acts in the interests of London.’
LAWRENCE WARD (UKIP): ‘We want to cut business rates, to stop the wasted empty houses in our city and to have a zero tolerance on crime, particularly gang-related crime. UKIP will be a true voice for Londoners on the Assembly.’
SIOBHAN BENITA (Independent): ‘People are tired of the traditional parties, I am the alternative. Vote for me if you want a mayor who will build low-cost homes, improve the education system, freeze fares, keep Tubes running later and address the top-five local concerns in every borough.’
CARLOS CORTIGLIA (BNP): ‘If you are fed up of demagogy, false promises and manipulated elections, give me your support to walk together towards real democracy in Britain.’
Links: Full news story
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