Former local government law chief mulls standing for directly-elected mayor

A high-profile former local government lawyer is considering standing as directly-elected mayor of Birmingham if the city votes in favour of the role in a referendum in two months’ time.

Mirza Ahmad, former Corporate Director of Governance at Birmingham City Council and now a tenant at St Philips Chambers, is actively calling for a ‘yes’ vote on 3 May.

Writing on The Chamberlain Files last month, Dr Ahmad said he had been asked by a number of people whether he would stand.

“This is, of course, an inappropriate question – at this stage – as Birmingham must first vote in a referendum to have an elected mayor before any candidates can stand to become an elected mayor,” he wrote.

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He added: “It is, however, true that I have had lots of positive feedback and been encouraged to stand as there needs to be a ‘credible alternative’ to the current usual suspects from the ‘old’ and out of touch political parties.

“It all depends, therefore, if Birmingham elects to have an elected mayor, and as previously declared, I hope the electorate see the advantages of having one running Birmingham.”

Dr Ahmad said he would prefer to run for directly-elected mayor as an independent candidate as no single political party represented all of his views. He also argued that parties were likely to consider the ‘usual suspects’ as their candidates.

In the article Dr Ahmad went on to set out his seven guiding principles for pursuing effective policies for Birmingham’s success.

In a previous posting, he said the strongest argument for a directly elected mayor was “the direct electoral mandate that such person will command for representing the whole city – not just the views of a narrow political party, as currently happens with existing politicians”.

Dr Ahmad said he had been in favour of directly-elected mayors since a study tour to the US in the early 1990s.

If the referendum on 3 May delivers a 'yes' vote, then elections for the post will be held on 15 November.

St Philips is meanwhile to hold its inaugural Local Authority Law Conference on 31 May, with presentations from QCs and other barristers in a wide range of areas including judicial review and governance, housing and community safety, trading standards and public health, and children and social services law. For full details, click here.

The set also launched a formal alliance with Leeds set Chancery House Chambers this month.

“The geographical combination of both sets means the Alliance can offer its services to a wider national clientele in its specialist areas,” the two chambers said.

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