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PM's elected mayors hope dashed

Prime Minister David Cameron's hope of installing powerful elected mayors in major cities has been dashed by voters.

Mr Cameron had thrown his weight firmly behind the policy but only voters in Bristol embraced the idea while residents in nine cities rejected the new posts.

The Prime Minister had attempted to use the example of London Mayor Boris Johnson to inspire enthusiasm for high-profile municipal figureheads, saying he wanted a "Boris in every city".

But Birmingham rejected the idea by 57.79% to 42.21%, on a turnout of just 27.65%. In Newcastle, 61.94% of voters opposed the change, against 38.06% in favour of a mayor, on a 31.92% turnout.

Wakefield rejected the change by 62.16% to 37.84% on a 28.62% turnout, while in Sheffield 65.03% were against a mayor, with just 34.97% in favour on a 32.09% turnout, Manchester voted against by a margin of 53.24% to 46.76%, and Nottingham by 57.5% to 42.5%. Both cities had a low turnout of 24%.

The outcome in Coventry was more resounding, with just 36.42% backing the change and 63.58% opposing it. In Bradford the vote was 44.87% for and 55.13% against, while in neighbouring Leeds 36.65% wanted to see the new role created while a resounding 63.35% opposed the plan on a 30.48% turnout.

Bristol bucked the national trend and voted for an elected mayor, but on a turnout of just 24%.

Meanwhile, Liverpool and Salford elected their mayors for the first time, with Labour victorious in both cities. Ian Stewart became Salford mayor by a margin of 23,459 votes to 10,071 over Conservative Karen Garrido in a second round of voting, while Joe Anderson won in the first round in Liverpool with an overwhelming 57.7% of votes.

In Doncaster, voters opted to retain their elected mayor, despite a series of controversies since the post was created in 2002, with 61.98% in favour of keeping the post on a 30.51% turnout.

Shadow work and pensions secretary Liam Byrne, who would have competed to be Labour's choice of mayor in Birmingham, told the programme the role was not properly defined: "People just think 'you are asking people to take a leap of faith at a time when my faith in politics and especially my faith in David Cameron is at a low ebb'."

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