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War of words after Torbay MP Adrian Sanders' call to 'get rid of' Bay's elected mayor

By Herald Express  |  Posted: January 05, 2013

  • tough times: Adrian Sanders

  • point scoring: Gordon Oliver

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A WAR or words has broken out after Torbay MP Adrian Sanders made a call in Parliament to 'get rid of' elected mayor Gordon Oliver.

Mr Sanders later insisted he was talking about the mayoral system.

But Mr Oliver has accused him of 'scoring political points'.

Mr Sanders' comments in the Commons came as Government spending levels were announced for local authorities by Local Government Minister Eric Pickles — it has been confirmed Torbay will now be faced with a £10million budget cut next year.

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Mr Sanders said: "I am thankful for the grant settlement for my area which looks more generous than that for most other areas of Devon.

"However, we could go a lot further if we could get rid of our elected mayor and his unaffordable glory projects.

"Will the Secretary of State overturn the decision of the last Government and allow people to have a referendum before the end of the current mayor's term of office?"

Minister Mr Pickles said: "I was rather hoping that, in the spirit of Christmas love and understanding, I might be able to bridge a rapprochement between him and the mayor.

"They are both wonderful people and it is a matter of some regret that they seem not to get on."

Speaking after making his comments to the House, Mr Sanders said: "I'm talking about getting rid off the post of mayor which everybody, including the mayor himself, seems in favour of doing.

"During these tough economic times getting rid of the post could save some small money and allow a wider group of people to take decisions which affect the Bay. For once the idea of a third harbour would be quashed, ideas like importing palm trees or creating a velodrome would not have been taken."

He said he had asked for a decision by the last government to extend the time for people to have a referendum on the elected mayor system to be reversed so local residents wouldn't have to wait five years.

Mayor Mr Oliver said it was disappointing for the local MP to choose such a 'serious issue to score political points when he voted for the austerity cuts the people of Torbay are now facing'.

He said: "The reduced funding available to us will mean tough decisions; some services will be reduced; some will need to be delivered in a different way and some will stop altogether.

"I am committed to continuing to consult and involve our communities in making these difficult choices to ensure a healthy, prosperous and happy future for the Bay."

Labour Cllr Darren Cowell said he welcomed Mr Sanders' views on the mayoral system saying it reflected what all three parties in the Bay have been saying for years.

He said: "All three parties oppose the elected mayor position, including the current mayor."

Lib Dem group leader Cllr Steve Darling said: "Involving more people in the decision making process would help throw some of the crazy schemes overboard early on especially when every penny counts."

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  • mikelister66  |  January 08 2013, 12:37PM

    nicol - i think he does like the power, as for the salary he does give half of it away to local causes every year so he doesn't take it all home.

  • nicold  |  January 08 2013, 12:25PM

    I wonder if Adrian would have the same attitude if a Lib Dem had been voted in as mayor? As to the current mayor....if he was so against it why did he stand? Me thinks he likes the personal power and a nice fat salary!

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  • Dave_David  |  January 08 2013, 1:56AM

    "I walked down the Torquay Town Centre today....there is another charity shop, the YMCA, opened where Monsoon was and I see that Jessops have now cut their losses and moved away, leaving another empty shop." So come on who wants to come here anymore. Torquay and Paignton are dead now, if we could only go back 40 years when the towns were alive. You cannot compare Oliver and Sanders, both are in it for what they can get out of it, they do not cover the same area, Sanders does not cover half of Paignton or any of Brixham though Oliver does, not that they see anything of Oliver in Brixham. Torbay is such a small place and no one can work pout what is going on.

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  • nickthompson  |  January 07 2013, 11:28PM

    Just thought I would cheer you up a little.------------------------------------------------------------------------------The boss of an energy giant that has doubled its prices in just seven years could pocket a £13million payoff. Phil Bentley, who is to leave British Gas within months, has presided over above-inflation hikes that have pushed average bills past £1,300 a year. The latest punishing rise of 6 per cent comes as millions endure the greatest squeeze on living standards since the 1920s.--------------All in this together,some it seems not in as much as other's!!

  • nickthompson  |  January 07 2013, 8:21PM

    On yer bike Saunder's, time you went (won't be long now) and take a large proportion of the other 649 parasites with you,between you, your salary is costing tax payer's over 42 million pounds a year, before EXPENCES are taken into consideration,the USA which is several times the size of the UK has fewer people running their country.

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  • milkman_14  |  January 05 2013, 9:40PM

    I Totally agree with Adrian Saunders what is the point of a local elected mayor like the first Elected Mayor he is a joke just look at the tree and its blanket to keep it warm what a waste of tax payers money both of the mayor's have made a right mess of Torbay and lets not forget both of them are from Brixham that says it all iterbred no-hopers like most of the residents not happy unles they are moaning about somthing or other well mr Mayor go back to you little town and crawl back under you litlle rocks and stay there.......

    |   -1
  • milkman_14  |  January 05 2013, 9:38PM

    I Totally agree with Adrian Saunders what is the point of a local elected mayor like the first Elected Mayor he is a joke just look at the tree and its blanket to keep it warm what a waste of tax payers money both of the mayor's have made a right mess of Torbay and lets not forget both of them are from Brixham that says it all iterbred no-hopers like most of the residents not happy unles they are moaning about somthing or other well mr Mayor go back to you little town and crawl back under you litlle rocks and stay there.......

    |   -1
  • ziderman  |  January 04 2013, 11:21PM

    What a great idea let's get rid of the mayor the money saved could be put to good use saving Brixham's chestnut nursery from closure Time for the mayor to go me thinks

    |   8
  • realityzone  |  January 04 2013, 4:11PM

    Well Frank Sobey you'll have to dream on. Adrian is so hell bent on make cheap political points and opportunism in the printed media that it is hard to imagine anyone wanting to sit down and talk to him. From this column you might think he is setting out policies to stand as elected Mayor. Maybe he should give some time to listing exactly what he is achieving for Torbay in Parliament no one seems to know.

    |   -5
  • HughGarsse  |  January 04 2013, 11:44AM

    I'm not at all surprised that a Lib Dem wants to do away with a democratic system where the people choose. They are so low in the polls after ripping up signed pledges for a little power that letting the people decide on their fate is not going to appeal to these wishy washy liberals. Let the supreme rulers dictate seems a rather un liberal approach but maybe liberalism is another pledge they have torn up when it suits THEIR needs.

    |   -5

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