Marvin Rees has reacted to Bristolians voting to scrap the role of mayor in the city, a move he says he ‘does not take personally’ but harbours fears over for the future.
It means that the city will switch to a committee system after Mr Rees steps down from the role in 2024.
Speaking after the result was announced at Oasis Academy Brislington this morning (Friday, May 6) at around 3.30am, Mr Rees said that he ‘really hoped’ his fears over the committee system ‘were wrong’.
He has previously made his thoughts on committee systems clear, warning that they are mired in ‘party politics’ while a mayor is held ‘directly accountable’ and ‘forced to face outwards, quite rightly, and talk to the city.’
“As it is the city will go back to a committee system and have to work itself out from there,” said Mr Rees.
“I really hope that my fears over the committee system are not warranted and that it proves to be successful.
“Because the scale of the challenges we face right now, off the back of the pandemic - dealing with Brexit, climate emergency, housing crisis - require a city that focuses on making decisions and delivery, not internal wrangling and posturing.
“If the committee system can provide that city leadership and can drive delivery and decision making, then the city will be able to take on those challenges and the opportunities that are in front of it. We’ll see.”
He added: “I’ve been clear from the start that it’s not about me because I’m not running in 2024. This has always been about the system.
“Having said that, we will work hard over the next two years, deliver for Bristol and try to make sure we get a really good cohort of Labour councillors elected so we really can protect Bristol’s progressive political culture.
“Our job now over the next two years is to continue to deliver, to get as much in place as we can to build momentum.
“There will be a lot of good things landing, particularly in 2024 with the arena, the L&G site coming forward on Temple Island, the university campus, Bristol Beacon will be coming through, City Leap will be delivering nearly half-a-billion pounds of investment in our energy system, so hopefully that momentum will carry on into the future.”
Mr Rees has been elected as Mayor of Bristol twice, but stated even before the referendum began that he would not be running for the role again.