By Matthew Bates 04/05 Updated: 09/05 10:14
VOTERS in Coventry have given a resounding 'no' to having an elected mayor.
Nearly 63,000 people cast their vote in yesterday's referendum, with almost two thirds rejecting the idea.
It means the current system of councillors working in a cabinet of ten will remain in place. John Mutton, who heads up that cabinet and leads the council, said he hoped the government would now hand over increased powers despite the result going against Westminster's plans.
They had forced 11 English cities outside London into the referendum, promising more powers to the victor.
Coventry already has a Lord Mayor - currently Coun Keiran Mulhall - but the role is purely ceremonial and politically neutral.
Heavy rain and an apathetic view of the vote were blamed for a turnout level of just 27 per cent, while nearly 1,000 voters made their feelings known by spoiling their ballot papers.
Businessman Joe Elliott, who has fronted the 'no' campaign, led the celebrations when the result was announced.
He said: "I like discussion, I like democracy - I don't like dictatorship."
Council deputy leader George Duggins added it was an incredible result.
"The yes campaign had no arguments. We steamrollered them in debate and organisation.
"We went into the community and met people, we told them the facts and they like what they heard.
"I have some advice to David Cameron when it comes to Coventry - don't bully us, don't ask dodgy questions.
"We'll see through them and we'll see through you."
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