Mayor candidate would shed power

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A would-be mayor of Bedford has vowed to scrap some of the mayoral might if he wins his battle for election.

Steve Lowe, standing as an independent candidate, believes the mayor currently has too much power .

The 63-year-old claims the council is run by the ‘Elite Eight’ – a small team of councillors hand-picked by current mayor Dave Hodgson.

He said: “They are all Labour or Lib Dems, which is hardly a fair representation and it seems they have to behave themselves and do as they’re told or they’ll get into trouble.”

Steve thinks the council should be more democratic, more transparent and less dependent on the complex “council speak” language he claims makes documents indecipherable to the public.

He says he would “give away” some of the power he would have as mayor and make the council more democratic.

He said: “I would put a time bomb under the entire system. I want to give the people of Bedford a voice.”

As a former editor of a local newspaper and author of numerous council-knocking stories, he is not the slightest bit scared of causing controversy.

Steve said: “I did criticise if the council did something wrong, but I’d praise them if they got it right. At the moment, a lot of the time I don’t think they’re getting it right.

“I want to see education improved – currently Bedford’s GCSE results are second worse in the region. And I want to see more social housing and better relationships with housing associations.”

Steve, who has lived in the Bedford area all his life, has run his own businesses as a painter and decorator and a greengrocer.

He proved he knew his onions in 1980 when he was elected a Labour county councillor, a position he held for seven years.

In 1996 he became a journalist almost overnight after newspaper boss and former mayor Frank Branston invited him to write articles for him.

Steve is one of four contenders running for the post of mayor. The elections will be in May.

> See page 17.