Bristol has voted decisively in favour of an elected mayor, with a majority of more than 5,000 people in favour of changing the way the city is governed.
At the count at Ashton Gate this lunchtime, more than 41,032 votes were cast in favour of a directly elected mayor, with 35,880 against.
The result means that, at present, Bristol is the only city of the 10 across the UK to have voted in favour,with 53% of the vote.
There were huge cheers from the ‘yes’ campaign as the result was read out by returning officer Stephen McNamara at just before 2pm.
“It’s been a very positive vote for the mayor and I am very pleased,” said Conservative leader Cllr Peter Abraham. “We now have to move forward and the hard work starts now.
“I think it’s good news for Bristol, I really do. I think the result shows the relationship between the people and the council. I have seen that deteriorate over the last decade, and this is a step forward.”
The ‘no’ campaigners had seen a presumed victory slip away during the two hours of counting.
Cllr Tim Kent, who had been at the forefront of the ‘no’ campaign said: “We’re obviously disappointed but at the same time we completely accept the result. Bristol has spoken and the most important thing to do now is work with the pro-mayor campaign to deliver on the many promises that they made.
“We want to see the extra powers and money that the ‘yes’ campaign has promised, and to see a fantastic mayor in November.”
Meanwhile, Green Party councillor Gus Hoyt, who campaigned against the mayor, bemoaned the low turnout – which was set at 24% – and said his party would be lobbying the mayor to devolve as many powers as possible to local people.
“At the end of the day, only 12% have voted in favour of a mayor. It’s up to us to lobby the position, not the individual, to decentralise as much of the powers the mayor has as possible.
“Nearly 70% of the population across the country have not voted, so we have to bring politics back to the people.”
With the ‘yes’ vote, the campaign will begin in earnest for the mayoral role. An election will take place on November 15, and the likes of George Ferguson, Abdul Malik, Marvin Rees and Kelvin Blake have already thrown there names into the ring.