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Mark Meredith

2nd Mayor of Stoke-on-Trent
In office
5 May 2005 – 5 June 2009
Preceded by Mike Wolfe

Born August 21, 1965 (1965-08-21) (age 44)
Pyenest Street, Shelton, Stoke-on-Trent, England
Birth name Mark Joseph Meredith
Nationality British
Political party Labour
Occupation Businessman, Mayor
Website www.stoke.gov.uk

Mark Joseph Meredith (born 21 August 1965 in Shelton, Stoke-on-Trent) is the directly-elected mayor of Stoke-on-Trent in England. An openly gay man and former amateur boxer[1] he was elected on 5 May 2005, for the Labour Party, and defeated incumbent independent Mike Wolfe.

On 6 March 2009, Meredith was arrested and bailed on suspicion of corruption in office. High ranking local Conservative Party councillor Roger Ibbs was also arrested a week earlier on the same charge. The police inquiry is understood to be focusing on the city council's attempts to shut the splash pool at Dimensions Leisure Centre, in Burslem, last year.[2] He resigned his political positions, including the Chairmanship of the Executive and Members' Board and the North Staffordshire Regeneration Board on 8 March, 2009 with the investigation ongoing. He retained the title and office of Elected Mayor.[3]

Contents

Political career

A member of the Labour Party since 1982, Meredith held posts at various levels of the Labour Party, including time as a member of the national committee, representing the West Midlands, of the Labour Party's youth section, the Labour Party Young Socialists (LPYS) prior to its disbandment at the 1987 Labour Party Conference. A talented organiser and public speaker, he also worked for several years during this time as a youth organiser for the Militant Tendency. A local businessman in the Stoke-on-Trent town of Hanley since 1991, he was selected as the Mayoral Labour candidate in December 2004, defeating four others to win the Labour nomination.

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2005 Mayoral election

In the mayoral election of 5 May 2005, Meredith polled ahead of the Conservative candidate Roger Ibbs in second place, Mike Wolfe (independent), a BNP candidate and three other non-aligned independents.

Time as Mayor

Since his election, he has concentrated much of his efforts to bringing the City Council's long-term financial deficits under control.

In July 2007, Mark Meredith formed a de-facto executive model for Stoke-on-Trent City Council of Mayor and Cabinet in all but name. This first move away from the Mayor and Council Manager model (the only one of its kind in England) was generally welcomed by most political groups represented on the Council.

Subsequently, the Council Executive now has representation in its number from all three main political parties, Labour, Conservative and Lib Dem. Although still in possession of a Mayoral veto, Meredith appeared to have set up a unique political arrangement in local government in England.

October 2008 referendum

Stoke's second referendum was held after the government withdrew the option of 'Elected Mayor and Manager' executive arrangement. Democracy4Stoke campaigned ‘yes’: to replace the system with a ‘Council Leader and Cabinet’ system. ‘People’s Choice’ campaigned for a ‘no’ vote, i.e. for an ‘Elected Mayor and Cabinet’ [4]. After the referendum October 23, 2008 the position of Elected Mayor in Stoke was abolished after a vote of 21,231 for 'Yes' (a council leader and cabinet), and 14,592 for 'No' (a mayor and cabinet system).

The referendum question was: "Are you in favour of the proposal for Stoke-on-Trent City Council to be run in a new way, which includes a councillor, who will be elected by the councillors of Stoke-on-Trent to lead the council and the community which it serves?"[5]

The turnout was 19.23%.[6] The result of the referendum was put into place on 5 June 2009 when Meredith's term of office ended, and the City Council elected a Council Leader, Conservative Ross Irving, to replace him.

Arrest

On 6 March 2009, Mark Meredith was arrested on suspicion of corruption in office. High ranking local Conservative Party councillor Roger Ibbs was also arrested a week earlier on the same charge. The police inquiry is understood to be focusing on the city council's attempts to shut the splash pool at Dimensions Leisure Centre, in Burslem, last year.[2] He resigned all of his political positions on 8 March, 2009 with the investigation ongoing. On 7 July 2009, the Staffordshire Police announced that no further proceedings in the case were being made and that all charges against Ibbs were being dropped; Meredith having never been formally charged. They disclosed that there was insufficient evidence to support any case for corruption against any of the men involved. [3]

References

External links


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