Bid to revamp elections in Carlisle fails

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A public consultation on whether to hold local elections in Carlisle every four years will not be going ahead.

The idea was discussed by members of the city council during a meeting this week after a motion was tabled by James Bainbridge, Conservative councillor for Stanwix Rural.

Carlisle City Council currently holds elections three out of every four years, with a third of the council being elected each time.

However Mr Bainbridge said that there has been a fall in the number of local authorities holding elections this way, with more switching holding one full election every four years.

People see local elections as uninspiring - it should not be like that

He told councillors: "Big cities like Birmingham, Derby and Bristol have switched to holding elections every four years. Even Barrow has changed.

"Switching would bring a saving of £43,000, which would be pain-free to this council."

The motion saw a clear divide between members of the Conservative and Labour groups, with Tories in full support of Mr Bainbridge's motion while Labour members were keen to voice their opposition.

Nigel Christian, Conservative councillor for Dalston, said: "We now have the opportunity to stimulate an interest in local government. People see local elections as uninspiring - it should not be like that."

Ray Bloxham, a Conservative representing Longtown and Rockcliffe, added: "I think that holding an election every four years gives councillors the best opportunity to build up a relationship with the people they serve."

But Colin Glover, leader of the city council and the Labour group, hit out at Mr Bainbridge's claims that electoral reform would help to save money.

He said: "Some time ago, the then Prime Minister David Cameron said there would be fixed-term Parliaments.

"But Theresa May went against that and decided to hold an election - an election that cost £142m. I look forward to councillor Bainbridge writing to Theresa May about this."

Other Labour councillors including deputy leader Les Tickner, Steven Bowditch and Chris Southward all said they were not in favour of switching to a full election every four years.

David Morton, Conservative member for Belah, said the people of Carlisle should be asked for their thoughts.

He said: "The public are sick of politicians talking tripe. We're here to serve the public not the party.

"We're not saying we're going to do it, we're simply saying that there should be a consultation."

However the motion failed following a vote by members.

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