Two of the star names of Bristol group Massive Attack have backed George Ferguson for Bristol mayor, despite questioning the Merchant Venturers member’s independence.
Robert Del Naja, or 3D, and Grant “Daddy G” Marshall released a statement yesterday saying they supported Mr Ferguson’s “imagination”.
They added they wanted Bristol to match the work done in Manchester to support the arts and attract investment.
But last month Del Naja published a letter saying membership of the “exclusive club” and Mr Ferguson’s personal relationships with members of the Merchant Venturers could cause a “conflict of interest”.
He also questioned how being a member of the group would be the best way to represent Bristol in the modern world.
The Merchant Venturers have historic links to the slave trade and Mr Ferguson said that, if elected, he will immediately end his membership of the society and will publish a full response later today.
Del Naja turned to back Mr Ferguson yesterday, saying: “We’re backing George. Having an independent at the helm will allow Bristol to benefit from the widest range of talent. More people will have their say and the city will be open to more opportunities.
“It’s about running the city beyond just a political agenda. It’s not just about managing budgets and balancing the books. It’s about imagination. We need a mayor that will bring projects with major appeal to Bristol. Sound, viable projects that are vibrant and really capture the imagination and put Bristol on the map.
“We need to look at what’s been achieved in Manchester. They’ve invested heavily in the arts, and it’s brought back huge economic benefits for the city. We need to explore creative ways to bring investment to Bristol.
“A party simply candidate won’t do it, they won’t look beyond running the council operations.”
Mr Ferguson said: “Receiving support from Rob and Grant is great. I want to work with them and others from Bristol’s music scene to make sure we are pre-eminent on the national and international stage. This means developing talent and opportunity across the city.
“The choice for Bristol on Thursday is clear. If we don’t take this one opportunity to make a bold, independent decision, there is the very real danger that the Labour party will bind Bristol, not only with their own cabinet and central party control but also with apparatchiks in all the top council posts, where there are several vacancies. It would stack the deck for a generation.”