Businessman salutes 'historic victory' in mayoral referendum

DELIGHTED Mansfield businessman Stewart Rickersey celebrated an 'historic victory' for his campaign for a directly elected mayor to lead Mansfield District Council.

DELIGHTED Mansfield businessman Stewart Rickersey celebrated an 'historic victory' for his campaign for a directly elected mayor to lead Mansfield District Council.

Voters backed his 'Yes' vote campaign which had been fiercely opposed by Mansfield's ruling Labour group.

Now an election will be held in October to find Mansfield's new mayor.

After the result - 8,973 backing his campaign for a mayor and only 7,350 voting against in a surprisingly high turnout of 21.04 of the electorate - was announced late tonight, a delighted Mr Rickersey said:

"From the start this has been about giving the people of Mansfield the democratic opportunity to make their views known. This they have done today."

The proposal for an elected mayor had been fiercely opposed by councillors, who insisted the public had already chosen the current leader and cabinet system through a questionnaire almost two years ago.

But a 4,000-named petition, launched by Mr Rickersey last year, forced today's referendum.

However, Mr Rickersey stressed again he had no intention of standing for mayor, saying: "If we can find a good independent candidate, then I will certainly lend my support to that person, whoever he or she may be.

"All those discussions can now start and the real politics will begin with political parties putting up their candidates. Hopefully there will be an independent candidate which will genuinely be the people's mayor."