09 May 2016

Democracy and Engagement

New Bristol mayor and councillors take office

Bristol’s new directly elected Mayor and 70 councillors have formally taken office today (Monday 9 May) following one of the largest elections the city has ever seen.

Marvin Rees has taken up the role from former mayor George Ferguson. In his inauguration address the mayor outlined his focus on tackling deprivation and inequality in Bristol, addressing the city’s housing shortage and working collaboratively between city partners.

Embracing the spirit of partnership working, the new mayor chose to share the stage with several invited guests including performance poet Miles Chambers, Deborah Evans from the West of England Academic Health Science Network, police Bristol Area Commander Chief Superintendent Jon Reilly and University of the West of England Vice-Chancellor Steve West.

In a day of change for Bristol City Council, 70 city councillors were also sworn in to office for their four-year terms. Labour now controls the council chamber with a total of 37 seats, whilst the Conservatives have 14, the Green Party 11 and Liberal Democrats eight.

Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol said: “It is with humility and gratitude that I am taking up this office. I have a big vision for Bristol, rooted in tackling its long-standing gap between the haves and have-nots. We have a social and moral duty to all Bristol people to make sure that whoever you are and whatever your background, you get decent and fair opportunities in this city. This means a home to live in, quality training and education being available, employment options and support for people with different needs.

“There will be challenges, especially in the face of the cuts being imposed on local public services by the government. It is one which we can only rise to by embracing city leadership which is broader and wiser than the city council alone.

“This city can work in a more inclusive way and I aspire to bring together many different partners and including the public in how we do things. Bristol is a great place with many admirable strengths and thriving parts – my focus will be on making sure those strengths include and benefit everyone.”

Bristol’s new mayor also made clear his intention to form a cross-party Cabinet in coming weeks, to receive reporting from senior officers on the finances and performance of the city, and to commission an independent report on the city’s year as European Green Capital.