Blackpool mayoral row as tradition is dropped

Blackpool's Tories say they will boycott tomorrow's mayor-making ceremony after the traditional thanks to the outgoing mayor was dropped from the agenda.

By Shelagh Parkinson
Tuesday, 21st May 2019, 5:19 pm
Blackpool Town Hall
Blackpool Town Hall

This year's town hall ceremony offers no opportunity for group leaders to express their appreciation for the work of the retiring first citizen Coun Gary Coleman.

Instead the new mayor - who this year will be Coun Amy Cross - will thank her predecessor and present the ex-mayor's badge.

Conservative group leader Coun Tony Williams said none of his members would be attending the ceremony due to this "clear act of disrespect."

Sign up to our daily newsletter

He added: "Changes have been made to a tradition that goes back 100 years by the leader without a full notice of motion or consultation with myself or any of the opposition groups.

"It now prevents myself or any councillor to give thanks to a Mayor who has worked so hard in difficult circumstances."

But a council spokesperson said the change was part of a process of updating the agenda.

They said: “The agenda for the annual council meeting has been updated, in line with other local authorities, so recognition of the outgoing mayor’s achievements are highlighted by the incoming mayor.

“Giving thanks and appreciation to the outgoing mayor always has and always will have a place within the ceremony. However, having a formal resolution of thanks that councillors then vote on is old-fashioned and unnecessary procedure.

“Following the local elections we are at the start of a new four-year term and therefore it is the right time to modernise our processes wherever appropriate.

“The appointment of the new Mayor is normally attended by all parties so it is disappointing that this issue around a change to the agenda might prevent that from happening.”

Outgoing Mayor Coun Gary Coleman split from the ruling Labour group in 2018 in a fallout over the mayoralty of his father Ian Coleman, and was re-elected earlier this month as an Independent.