Mayors For 11 English Cities Fast-Tracked For 'Super Thursday' Elections

Bullring

Huffington Post UK   First Posted: 25/01/2012 09:43 GMT Updated: 25/01/2012 11:01 GMT

Elections for mayors in 11 English cities will be held in November, after ministers decided to bring forward referendums on creating the posts to May this year.

Birmingham, Liverpool, and Bristol are widely expected to join London in having a directly elected mayor and vote in favour of the proposals when referendums are held on 3 May, or "super Thursday".

Residents in Bradford, Coventry, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham, Sheffield and Wakefield are also being polled.

Greg Clark, the cities minister, is due to announce the revised timetable for the elections in a speech on Wednesday.

"Elected mayors provide cities with the strong, visible leadership that can help them prosper nationally and internationally," he will say. "This is an opportunity for each city to transform itself for the better.

"The world's great cities have mayors who lead for their city on the national and international stage, attracting investment and jobs. We believe that mayors can help English cities achieve their full potential too."

While the policy is being pushed by the coalition, it appears that Labour may be the biggest beneficiaries, with several backbench MPs believed to be interested in the jobs.

Long time Birmingham MP Gisela Stuart has been tipped by some to take over England's second city, as has former MP Sion Simon.

While former Labour defence secretary Bob Ainsworth has been suggested as a possible candidate to run Coventry.

By contrasts the Tories are yet to find any high profile candidates to take on the challenge.

However the mayoral elections could cause a headache for Ed Miliband as the polls would trigger by-elections in the vacated parliamentary seats, some of which are highly marginal such as Stuart's.

The Times reported that the new mayors can expect to earn between £80,000 and £100,000, much higher than an MPs’ salary of £65,738.

The range of powers available are also likely to prove attractive, with portfolios covering housing, transport, planning and health.

A shake up of the electoral map for Westminster elections could also persuade some MPs to voluntarily step down from parliament in favour of running for Mayor.

FOLLOW HUFFPOST UK POLITICS