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Open up the mayoral contest; COMMENT.

Labour has taken the lead in presenting candidates who want to be Birmingham's first directly-elected mayor, with no fewer than three declared wannabes.

MP John Hemming is prevaricating for the Liberal Democrats, while Tory council leader Mike Whitby has let it be known that he could yet stand - but he's not saying so publicly.

So top marks to Labour for giving us politicians who are ready to take a risk and announce their intentions. It's also possible that yet more Labour figures may step forward in the months to come.

But how will Labour decide who receives the honour of being its candidate in the mayoral election, should an election take place? As things stand, the answer appears to be that a relatively small number of Labour members in Birmingham will get to decide.

David Miliband's proposal that an open primary should be held instead deserves serious consideration. Opening up the selection process to Labour supporters in general would inject some extra excitement into the campaign, and provide the winner of the selection contest with an army of supporters already invested in their success.

It's something the other parties should consider too.
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Title Annotation:Letters
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Feb 9, 2012
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