Jan 2017 - Metro-Mayor to go ahead
The councils of Bristol, Bath & North East Somerset, and South Gloucestershire, recently agreed to the proposed £1 billion "West of England" devolution deal. It follows the decisions in June 2016 by the three councils to move forward with the deal and the subsequent public consultation in July and August. Once it passes through Parliament, the councils will have the power to create the "West of England Combined Authority" and hold Metro Mayor elections in May 2017. To those who say this all sounds a bit like Avon County... we wouldn't disagree! But the extra infrastructure money is new.
The election will total the party votes across the three Councils. In the area of the Metro Mayor, since the year 2000 the Lib Dems have run all 3 councils for more years than any other party, with the Conservatives in second place. In addition, the Lib Dems topped the General Election poll in the area in 2010, while the Conservatives did in 2015.
Because of this, the local media and political pundits agree that the election battle will be between the Conservatives and the Lib Dems, with the Conservatives as slight favourites. The Conservative and Labour parties have both selected relatively unknown councillors as their candidates, from Winterborne and Radstock respectively. The Lib Dems however will be selecting a heavyweight candidate, with former Bristol West MP Stephen Williams battling it out with former Bristol Council leader Simon Cook for the candidacy for Metro Mayor.