Belfast Telegraph

Friday 1 August 2014

Doncaster elects first female mayor

Labour candidate Ros Jones, right, is congratulated by outgoing mayor Peter Davies after she was voted Mayor of Doncaster

Doncaster has elected its first female mayor after the town's incumbent English Democrat-turned-independent leader, Peter Davies, was pipped to the post by Labour.

New mayor Ros Jones pledged to "work her socks off" fighting local government cuts during her four-year term after winning by a margin of just 600 votes.

Ms Jones said: "Doncaster has spoken and it's said it wants a mayor that will always be on its side and will stand up against cuts that are Tory-led. We'll bring about change in council services, especially children's services which need urgent improvement."

Just over 62,000 people voted in Doncaster - a turnout of just 28%. Ms Jones got 25,364 votes while Mr Davies picked up 24,725.

Elected in 2009, Mr Davies has become known for a tough approach to crime, his anti-EU views and a disdain for excessive council bureaucracy. He was also heavily criticised by campaigners after trying to justify the closure of a popular library in the town.

A straight-talking and controversial figure, he became the town's second elected mayor when he was voted in as an English Democrat in 2009. But he resigned from the party earlier this year, claiming there has been a big influx of new members joining from the British National Party.

He continued in office as an independent and ran for the most recent election with the motto "common sense, not politics".

Following the result, Mr Davies said: "We've had a really good campaign and we just fell short." He said his term represented "four years of common sense" and that during his time in office, Doncaster had "changed immensely".

Mr Davies said he had "enjoyed the last four years immensely" but said he will not miss council meetings, which were "horrendous".

Directly elected mayors have served Doncaster since the system was introduced in 2002. Doncaster residents voted in favour of the idea in 2001 and reaffirmed their desire to keep the post of elected mayor at another referendum last year.

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