Vote ‘yes’ in elected mayor ballot, PM urges Bristol business figures

April 23, 2012

Prime Minister David Cameron backed the 'yes' campaign in Bristol's elected mayor referendum on a high-profile visit to the city this week.

Speaking to dozens of campaign supporters and senior Bristol business figures – and trailing national TV in his wake –  Mr Cameron called on Bristolians to "seize it, go for it and vote for it" in the ballot on May 3.

His visit is the biggest event so far in a campaign widely viewed as having failed to spark much public interest. With just over a week to go to polling day, expectations are of a low turnout.

However, a number of business organisations in the city have staged debates and urged their members to get involved in an issue, which Mr Cameron said gave the people of Bristol a "once in a generation" chance to gain increased powers for the city.

The Prime Minister admitted that voter apathy may be in issue but said the original ballot to decide whether London should have a directly-elected mayor had suffered a similar fate – yet now few would disagree that the capital's mayor had made a huge difference to the city.

Speaking to a hand-picked audience including many Bristol business figures, the Prime Minister said there were three reasons to vote yes – the economy, accountability and the transfer of powers from Whitehall.

He also hit back at allegations by the 'no' campaign that a mayor would be expensive, suggesting that in the current economic climate the candidates would strive to keep costs low.

Questioned by Bristol Business News on the issue, Mr Cameron said: "If you are one of the aspiring candidates you are likely to say that your first priority is to keep the bills down.

"The right person can cut the old bureaucracy. They will be able to bang heads together."

He praised Bristol for being a creative city, a beacon for culture and a leading business centre.

Bristol Business News supports a directly-elected mayor for Bristol

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