Ladies and Gentlemen
We are the English Democrats Party and as democrats we should always be campaigning to improve how democracy works in England.
As democrats we believe in the sovereignty of our people, the sovereignty of the English Nation, rather than the old idea of the monarch in Parliament as being the sovereign.
That is why direct democracy - like having referenda on issues is very much part of our agenda.
As a lawyer, I also prefer to be involved in initiatives that have real legal teeth and using a petition to campaign for a directly elected mayor has real legal teeth.
If you get the signatures of 5% of your local authority’s electors, then there must be, by law, a referendum on having a directly elected mayor.
If the majority of the local electorate vote in favour of having a directly elected mayor, then there must be by law a directly elected mayor. So Ladies and Gentlemen our discussions now will be about our Party’s initiative to push for directly mayors throughout England.
Ladies and Gentlemen as I stand before you I can tell you that we, as a Party, have now registered our petitions with every relevant local authority in England that does not either have a directly elected mayor already, or has not conducted a referendum on it in the last 10 years. The law does not allow a second referendum within 10 years of the previous one.
This is a really exciting initiative which the English Democrats are spearheading and which could make a dramatic difference to the way local governments are run up and down the country.
We have registered with every District Council, every Borough Council, every Unitary Council, every County Council and every City Council.
Where you can run the campaign yourselves and get the signatures I would urge everyone of you to get involved. Also wherever possible encourage activists from other parties and those who are independents in local government to do likewise.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I am delighted to be able to introduce our next speaker, Professor Colin Copus from the De Montfort University in Leicester.
Colin is the leading academic commentator on directly elected mayors and has written this book which I would recommend to you all.
It certainly helped broaden my understanding of what a directly elected mayoralty may be able to achieve.
Colin has come to explain some of the constitutional and political significance of what we are trying to achieve. Ladies and Gentlemen, without any more ado, will you please welcome Professor Colin Copus.
Ladies and Gentlemen, our second speaker on this important issue is our own English Democrats Mayor of Doncaster, Peter Davies. The London centric, the Financial Times, described him as “the Boris of the North”. Although I should say that Peter always likes to describe Boris Johnson as the “Peter of the South”.
Peter is here to tell us about the advantages of the mayoral system for local government and for our democracy in England.