Who’ll be first across the bridge in the race to be Labour’s Bristol Mayor candidate?

As campaigning gets under way in the race to be Bristol’s first directly elected mayor, Left Foot Forward previews Labour’s prospective candidates.

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After May’s referendum result, Bristolians are set to go to the polls in November to elect their first directly elected mayor, with campaigning well underway; here, Amanda Ramsay summarises each of Labour’s five short-listed candidates, and provides full details of hustings

Kelvin Blake

Blake is a non-executive director of University Hospitals Bristol and a former Bristol city councillor, and an experienced senior programme director at BT. He is from Knowle West but lives in Fishponds.

Roger Berry, former Labour MP for Kingswood, told Left Foot Forward Blake’s the one to win for Labour on November 15th:

“The main challenge to Labour in this election is likely to be a Lib Dem masquerading as an Independent. I support Kelvin, not just because he has the political commitment, skills and experience to do a great job, but also because I believe he’s best placed to win.”

While Blake himself told us:

‘As mayor, I would be a strong leader both within the city, the region, London and Europe. Delivering a better deal for Bristol, I want to make Bristol the best connected city in the Country in terms of superfast broadband.’

Amongst his many pledges, Blake wants to create a transport authority for Bristol, reduce bus fares, and introduce a workplace parking levy.

Follow Kelvin on Twitter: @kelvinblake


See also:

Vote 2012: The six-month battle for the Bristol Mayoralty begins 6 May 2012

Will Bristol cross the bridge to an elected Mayor? 15 Mar 2012

A call for progressives to back directly-elected mayors 5 Aug 2011


Cllr. Peter Hammond

Leader of the Labour group on Bristol City Council and former leader of the council, Hammond represents the St George West ward, in Bristol East. Professionally, Hammond is an FE lecturer, having previously worked on the railways. He is also a director of the Bristol radio station Community FM.

He says:

“I am passionate about Bristol as a place and its communities – it’s where I have chosen to live for nearly 40 years. Bristol’s diversity and creativity motivate me…

“I have worked with so many of our communities to bring them to the table where decisions are made from which they have [previously] been excluded. We need to change the way we work as a city to include every community. That is the key message.

“My record and experience is considerable. I have widespread experience in negotiating at local, regional, national and European level over my years as a leading councillor, trade union activist and through my working life and I shall apply those skills to the job of mayor.”

Follow Peter on Twitter: @peterh4bristol

Councillor Helen Holland

Another ex-leader of Bristol City Council, Holland is endorsed by the former Financial Secretary to the Treasury and MP for Bristol South, Dawn Primarolo. Holland has many years of experience as Councillor for the Whitchurch ward.

A former teacher, one of her pledges is to guarantee a primary school place close to home for every child, a big issue with scarcity of places at a primary and secondary level. She also pledges to “make jobs and training our priority”, with an ambitious target of the “lowest unemployment of any city in the country”.

Primarolo says:

“Her approach is to build partnerships to deliver for our city and to see things through. ‘We need someone credible who can stand up for our city from day one, to defend local people from coalition cuts. I have confidence in Helen’s ability to do that.”

Follow Helen on Twitter: @Helen4Bristol

Dan Norris

Former MP for Wansdyke, in north-east Somerset, and briefly a junior minister at DEFRA, Dan was a councillor in Bristol prior to his Westminster days. Since losing his seat in 2010 due to boundary changes, he’s worked in media and communications, running his own business and becoming more involved with various charities, including Kidscape and the Snowdon Award Scheme.

Speaking to Left Foot Forward, Norris said:

“Labour needs a mayoral candidate who is media savvy but who has the common touch, able to relate to people of all ages, backgrounds and cultures. I’ve spent my whole life fighting for social justice, as a child protection officer, trade unionist, Bristol Councillor, local MP and government minister.

“As someone who has fought and won election campaigns, always against the odds, as someone who has used his position as a government minister to bring real change, and as someone who has walked (and run!) hundreds of miles knocking on doors, talking and listening to local people in and around Bristol, I believe I uniquely provide the necessary ideas, energy and passion and, vitally important, national experience.”

Dan is not on Twitter

Marvin Rees

A Labour activist and former BBC journalist and radio presenter, Rees is currently a manager for race equality in mental health with the NHS in Bristol. Hailing from the Yale Global Leaders Programme, he has an intriguing CV and was once the executive assistant to Bill Clinton’s spiritual advisor. Rees tried unsuccessfully to become the PPC for Bristol West in 2010.

Rees is backed by Bristol East MP Kerry McCarthy, who says:

“I think Marvin is the Mayor that this city needs. He is someone who can reach out to every community and bridge the economic, social and cultural divides that have for too long held Bristol back. Marvin is strong-minded, determined and passionate about fighting for social justice.

“As this government rips the fabric of our communities apart, we need a mayor who will fight our corner all the way, for us all. I think Marvin will do that for us.”

Follow Marvin on Twitter: @marvinrees

Hustings listings:

Thursday 31 May: TULO Hustings for Labour Party candidate for Mayor, 7:45pm‏, open to all labour party members and political levy payers. The Brunel Room, Armada House, Telephone Avenue, Bristol BS1 4BQ.

Friday 1 June: Bristol Labour Students have arranged for all five candidates to speak to their society and answer questions from students, young people and local Labour Party members. Open to the general public. 7-9pm Conference Space, 5th floor, Hamilton House, 80 Stokes Croft, Bristol BS1 3QU. See Facebook event page.

Friday 8 June: Bristol Labour Party Mayoral Selection Official Hustings at the Greenway Centre, Doncaster Road, Southmead, Bristol BS10 5PY from 6.15pm to 8.30pm. Bristol Labour Party members wishing to attend MUST email [email protected] or phone 0117 972 9447.

This is an all postal ballot, closing 12 June. The result will be known mid-June.

You can follow the Bristol mayoral debate on Twitter: @Mayor4Bristol1


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