Breckland council leader warns government: ‘Don’t force mayor on us’

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A newly elected council chief has become the latest figure to speak out against plans for an elected mayor for Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire.

Breckland council leader William Nunn has called on the government to rethink its devolution plans, amid growing opposition to the current proposals.

In a Twitter post this afternoon, Mr Nunn said: “The Government needs to listen to East Anglia and allow devolution to develop from the bottom up.

“Forcing a Mayor upon us is not acceptable.”

The comment by Mr Nunn, who was elected to lead the authority for a second time last month, is the latest sign of the scale of opposition to the mayoral idea.

Last week, North West Norfolk MP Sir Henry Bellingham urged communities secretary Greg Clark to think again on the issue during a meeting in Westminster.

Many Norfolk county councillors, on all sides of the political divide, also spoke out against an elected mayor despite voting to remain part of the devolution discussions, while Peterborough city councillors have put forward an alternative devolution scheme solely for Cambridgeshire.

However, the government has so far insisted that the mayor is a central part of its plan for a new combined authority for the three counties.

And, during a visit to the region last month, Mr Clark said the mayor was non-negotiable for areas that want access to the funding being offered as part of the scheme.