Bristol elected mayor: Rees urges voters to stop Tories

Labour candidate said it was essential for his supporters to vote to ensure “the Tories do not sneak through the middle”

The Labour Party candidate to become Bristol’s first elected mayor has urged voters to make their voices heard as he prepares to officially launch his campaign.

Marvin Rees said it was essential for his supporters to vote to ensure “the Tories do not sneak through the middle”.

Traditional Labour heartlands in south Bristol saw some of the lowest turnouts during May’s referendum, in contrast to Conservative areas in the north.

There are fears that a low turnout for Labour could scupper their chances of winning the first directly elected mayor vote, due on November 15.

Speaking ahead of the launch of his campaign, Mr Rees said he wanted to “make the change Bristol needs”, adding: “Only Labour values will work for Bristol in difficult times.”

“Everyone knows that Bristol needs change. This is a great city but we can do a lot more. We need change in a city with expensive and poorly-connected transport, an uncertain economic future, too few homes at affordable prices and too many people facing rip-off fees to rent, years of delay for our football stadiums and more action needed to help families struggling to make ends meet,” he said.

“Only Labour values will work for Bristol in difficult times. We can have more of the same, whether at the Council House or Downing Street, or we can put the majority first and start working towards a stronger economy that takes us forward together.

“It’s essential that everyone who cares about decent public services and a better Bristol votes on November 15 so that the Tories do not sneak through the middle.”

Last week, Mr Rees pledged to introduce a Living Wage for the lowest-paid council staff – making the minimum wage £7.20 an hour.

This was yesterday matched by the Green Party candidate Daniella Radice in her manifesto, but has been attacked by independent candidate George Ferguson who told Bristol24-7 was “easier said than implemented” and reflected a lack of “understanding of operating in the real world”.

35 Responses to Bristol elected mayor: Rees urges voters to stop Tories
  1. robertjessetelford
    September 6, 2012 | 9:32 pm

    I will believe a word of what he says in his press releases when he puts out an actual manifesto.

    If a candidate doesn't provide any detailed policies, don't vote for them.

  2. Paul B/D
    September 6, 2012 | 6:18 pm

    What the politicos of Labour won't accept, is they no longer represent the way working people think. They are the ones New Labour ignored, and now the chickens are coming home to roost. My bet is Stoney Garnet will do far better than people think this side of the river.

  3. stabilo
    September 6, 2012 | 3:59 pm

    Has anyone seen his CV on LinkedIn? Incredible office speak nonsense.

    • Progress
      September 6, 2012 | 4:37 pm

      "Labour Party Candidate for Mayor of Bristol
      The City of Bristol
      June 2012 – Present (4 months) Bristol, United Kingdom

      City Leadership" He thinks he's won the election already!

  4. Paul Davies
    September 6, 2012 | 2:37 pm

    Marvin Rees

    All sizzle and no sausage, unfortunately

  5. gowithgrace74
    September 6, 2012 | 12:43 pm

    Where on earth has this come from? The Tories have never been cited as strong candidates in the mayoral election – it's yet more puff and bluster from the comms people that have been shipped in from Whitehall to run Marvin's campaign – cos it's all about Bristol – right Marvin? Labour are terrified of losing the mayoral election – and rightly so. Its time that Bristol got the leadership that it deserves rather than the constant sniping between political parties – which is why I want an independent to win. We need a mayor who is answerable to the people of Bristol – not their party, or the trade unions . Marvin is a puppet merely mouthing what he is told to say . Oh, and if you want a taste of real 'Bristol Labour' youshould follow George Ferguson on Twitter – Labour types like are crawling all over him, sniping and bitching – it's pathetic. And says to me this is more smokescreen and hogwash because as the strongest independent, they see George Ferguson as a real threat – not the Lib Dems or Tories. My fear is that with 10 weeks to go, it's just going to get worse – I really really really hope that the good folk of Bristol don't get sucked in.

    • stabilo
      September 6, 2012 | 1:06 pm

      very well said. Spot on about the Twitter attacks on George Ferguson as well, genuinely pathetic and genuinely vicious.

  6. Mikos
    September 6, 2012 | 12:37 pm

    @felix yes, the increase in current borrowing is almost entirely due to the legacy spending and borrowing decisions made by Brown & Co. No government would have been able to change that trend, it's a supertanker-turning situation.

    Rees seems identical to many of the vacuous, ineffectual New Labour apparatchiks that went before him (Jacqui Smith et al). Meaningless words, sustainable this, affordable that. The minimum wage is his one commitment to an action – fair enough, at least that's something. However, to vote for somebody to become my mayor, I need more than one clear action.

    My concern is that if none of the other candidates comes up with some concrete policies then Rees will be the one "sneaking through the middle", bringing us nothing but meaningless statements and empty promises.

  7. Rob
    September 6, 2012 | 12:28 pm

    Blocking the Tories was not the central message of Marvin Rees' latest announcement. It was one small sentence about half way through the document that was picked out by Bristol247 to create a dramatic headline.
    I've met Marvin, and I don't think I've ever come across someone more honest, genuine and more opposed to hatred. He cannot possibly be described as a career politician, he's been working for the NHS for the last few years.
    If you get the chance, get to a meeting where Marvin is present, and judge him according to what he says and does – not according to "what you read in the papers".

    • thebristolblogger
      September 6, 2012 | 1:01 pm

      Love this. Marvin's carefully crafted his meaningless message and sent it out to all the papers then along come his supporters to tell us not to believe what we read in the papers!

    • Progress
      September 6, 2012 | 1:37 pm

      That's not what the Evening Post comments sections seem to think about him?

      Since you seem to be in the know, what has he done for the NHS? Or was he hired as one of the consultants that he plans to axe to pay for the living wage?

  8. felix
    September 6, 2012 | 11:52 am

    "and massive overspending in the first years of the 21st century."

    Is that why this government is borrowing more in 5 years than Labour did in 13? And those are the figures of the OBR as reported by Tory stalwart rag, The Spectator, my friend.

    • stabilo
      September 6, 2012 | 12:19 pm

      which of Marvin's New Labour henchmen are you felix? Sean Benyon? Darren Lewis? Lots of hot air and negativity as usual from the party with nothing to offer.

    • Dean
      September 6, 2012 | 1:22 pm

      Duh, not very bright Felix are you?

      Massive overspending by Labour in first years of 21st century, followed by massive overborrowing by the Coalition since then.

      Is that simplistic enough for you? The UK is the most indebted nation in the world with debts (Household, Government, Financial and Corporate) at over 9 times GDP. That didn't just happen in the last five years.

      • arry
        September 6, 2012 | 4:11 pm

        Good spot Stabilo

        Felix is obviously Darren Lewis

        - never posts on the same thread as Darren
        - viciously pro-labour and anti-tory
        - insulting to others' intelligence whilst getting his own facts wrong

  9. felix
    September 6, 2012 | 11:49 am

    "if the Tory party really is this mythical people hating machine that doesn't understand people how come it keeps winning elections? "

    What elections. It was up against a lame-duck Labour government led by calamity Brown and couldn't even win that!

    • Progress
      September 6, 2012 | 1:44 pm

      Sorry, but I mean local and national elections . (And general elections did happen before 2010.)

      It seems that you are so quick to jump at an unpopular Tory government that you are ignoring the local level. All of his message is about the fightback against the tory government begins now, what about Bristol? what about Bristolians? what about the people? He's just waiting for a safe seat and isn't interested in us.

  10. felix
    September 6, 2012 | 11:47 am

    "instead offering a national mimimum wage that affected just 1m. "

    Absolute hogwash, Henry Hunt. The NMW benefits a third of the workforce. Given the workforce stands at 29 million, I'll let you do the maths.

    • Henry Hunt
      September 6, 2012 | 1:19 pm


      The Low Pay Commission annual report 2011 is here

      Across the economy as a whole, 3.4 per cent of jobs were paid at or below the minimum wage in April 2010.

      If you a link to a source that says something different, provide it….

  11. felix
    September 6, 2012 | 11:45 am

    "Other than suggest a voluntary minimum wage for a very limited range of workers,"

    And you have figures for the number of people working in Bristol on minimum wage, have you? Course not, just making it up as you go along. The NMW benefits a third of the workforce, according to HMG.

    • arry
      September 6, 2012 | 12:39 pm

      Felix – Rees is not suggesting a Bristol wide scheme. it is council workers only. And it mirrors was the LibDems are already proposing.

      And it is his only announced policy on any issue.

    • Henry Hunt
      September 6, 2012 | 1:03 pm

      Not sure where Felix is getting his figures from, but the ONS says that approximately 21% of the UK workforce is earning less than a Living Wage. In Bristol, 17% of the workforce are earning less than £7/hr, that is about 30,000 workers.

      However a voluntary system that allows those employers who employ the most staff on low wages to simply opt out will not have much effect.

      London has had a voluntary living wage for nearly 7 years, and only 6,500 families have been lifted above Living Wage – leaving 1.7m people still in households which earn less than the Living Wage.

  12. Felix
    September 6, 2012 | 11:32 am

    "If the Labour candidate thinks that the Living Wage is such a critical part of his manifesto, why isn't it part of Labour's national policy."

    It is, and was one of the central planks of Ed Miliband's leadership election. Take Duh of the Day award.

    • thebristolblogger
      September 6, 2012 | 12:13 pm

      The Labour leader, Ed Miliband, has said he backs a voluntary London living wage to tackle low pay in the capital, but has ruled out making it legally binding if the party returns to power at the next general election. Guardian, 14/03/2012

      Seems, at best, Labour support a voluntary living wage not statutory. Best not upset the corporates, eh?

      • Henry Hunt
        September 6, 2012 | 12:53 pm

        Duh of the year award goes back to Felix for being unable to distinguish between a voluntary Living Wage proposed at local level which those organisations that employ low waged staff and choose to ignore, and a mandatory level set at national level which is legally binding and will force employers to pay their staff a Living Wage.

        That's the problem with Labour – more interested in gesture politics that don't upset their corporate donors then real improvements to the lives of those paid poverty wages.

  13. Dennis Moore
    September 6, 2012 | 11:04 am

    Well said 'arry and the Bristol Blogger!

    Rees is trying to stoke up fears of a Tory win to mobilise the old tribal Labour vote that is often reluctant to turn up and vote on the day
    This is dishonest, Tories are the third party on the Council, and Ladbrokes have them as rank outsiders for Mayor at 16/1. (Marvin is of course odds-on favourite with Lib Dem Jon Rogers second and George Ferguson third).

    Labour ran Bristol for decades, and Marvin is hoping we all for get their legacy was high council tax in the '90s, then some of the worst schools in the country, and massive overspending in the first years of the 21st century.

  14. Progress
    September 6, 2012 | 10:46 am

    Classic Labour puppet, no policy to announce so he tries to steer attention towards stopping the 'tories' – if the Tory party really is this mythical people hating machine that doesn't understand people how come it keeps winning elections?

    Marvin isn't the change from the old system, he is the old system, a living embodiment of the career politicians that have driven this country into the ground economically, leaving the citizens of Bristol, Britain and the World disinterested and disengaged.

    I signed up to updates on his campaign and all I have received is two 'messages' (probably not even) from Labour HQ about National issues and numerous requests to feed money into his partisan hate generating campaign. Hate for other people's ideological beliefs – maybe his fairness commission will be on that case soon.

  15. Merlin Rhys
    September 6, 2012 | 10:43 am

    If Rees thinks that the Tories are the main threat why are his Labour Party goons always attacking Ferguson and not the Tories?

    There can only be two reasons?

    1) He's lying and he knows Ferguson is his main opposition but is trying to use the Tories as a scare tactic. OR
    2) He has no influence over his own party – in which case, he will be useless as a Mayor where he has to influence a much wider spectrum of people

  16. Dean Danvers
    September 6, 2012 | 9:59 am

    Labour's Living Wage proposal is typical of what that party has become.

    It allows them to pretend to be concerned about the poor whilst not forcing businesses to do anything about it.

    London has had a local living wage for 6 years and still has 1.7m people living in households below the Living Wage, with only 6,500 families lifted out of poverty.

    Forget greenwash, this is povertywash!

  17. thebristolblogger
    September 6, 2012 | 9:24 am

    Rees is well on the way to running one of the most pernicious and dishonest political campaigns this city has ever seen.

    As 'Arry says, where's the content? What on earth does "start working towards a stronger economy that takes us forward together" actually entail?

    Meanwhile, his main message is negative, "we must ensure the Tories do not sneak through the middle”. Why? What's the difference between Rees and the Tories?

    Who doesn't want "a stronger economy that takes us forward together"?

  18. Henry Hunt
    September 6, 2012 | 9:01 am

    If the Labour candidate thinks that the Living Wage is such a critical part of his manifesto, why isn't it part of Labour's national policy.

    Labour had a majority government for 13 years but failed to implement a mandatory Living Wage that would have affected 6 million workers, instead offering a national mimimum wage that affected just 1m.

    Now Labour are out of power, they want local council tax payers in Bristol to pay for what they were unwilling to make big business pay for when they had the ability to do so.

    Hypocrites! Same old Tory Labour.

  19. arry
    September 6, 2012 | 8:48 am

    Other than suggest a voluntary minimum wage for a very limited range of workers, Mr Rees has done nothing than list issues.

    We need to know what the candidates will do about these issues to make a meaningful choice for mayor. But the main branded candidates refuse to tell us what they will do. There has been long enough in this campaign for this not to be an accident.

    The electorate are being treated like fools. Marvin Rees simply seeks to play the historic class allegiences of the labour party to get into power. But we have no idea what he will do once he has that power.

    I suspect that the answer to what he will do is:

    1. maintain the same officer class that currently runs all policy at the council and never changes whoever we elect

    2. continue the same cosy relationship with property developers and the rich of this city

    3. try and trick the remainder of us with offers of bread (living wage) and circuses (festivals)

    4. and business as usual on everything else

    • wood5y
      September 6, 2012 | 11:38 am

      maintain the same officer class that currently runs all policy at the council and never changes whoever we elect

      Well said 'arry. If whoever is finally elected does not do more than the present elected members of the council to challenge the officers – some of whom in positions of authority get away with the most outrageous actions and statements – nothing's going to change and the city will have wasted several grand and achieved absolutely nothing, maintaining the status quo down the Counts Louse.

      • thebristolblogger
        September 6, 2012 | 2:22 pm


        Anything short of Will Godfrey's head on a pike outside the Counts Louse and we'll have to consider the mayor a failure.

        Do any of the mayoral candidates even know what Godfrey's up to with finance and procurement? Let alone going to do anything about him?

        • Dean
          September 6, 2012 | 3:40 pm

          How can they?

          Not even the politicians inside the council house know what he's been up to….

          Well, except perhaps Simon Cook

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