Cameron says Birmingham should have an elected mayor
David Cameron has urged people in Birmingham to vote for an elected mayor for the city if the Conservatives win the next general election.
Mr Cameron said that an elected Mayor would put the city “up there alongside Beijing and Shanghai”.
But he insisted that backing a campaign for an elected leader would not be embarrassing for the Tories, despite Birmingham City Council Leader Mike Whitby vehemently opposing the idea.
Mr Cameron said: “Great cities should have great elected leaders.
“I think we need someone who will get praise when they get it right and blame when they get it wrong so you can give the city a greater leadership and identity.
“I think it will help accountability.
“In the end it will be up to the people in Birmingham to decide whether they want an elected mayor.
“I think it worked for London.
“I would urge people to vote for an elected mayor because I believe it is the right thing to do.
“We want to make sure Birmingham is up there with the great cities of the world like Beijing and Shanghai.”
The words of praise for an elected mayor puts Mr Whitby in an awkward position as he does not want to break rank with the party despite his personal views against the proposed referendum
Mr Whitby said: “I agree with David that great cities need great leader’s and it’s only right that we get praised when we get things right and blamed when we get things wrong.
“If there is a referendum on elected mayors imposed then it will be the people of Birmingham who will have the final say.”
Mr Cameron also revealed his plans to help Birmingham survive the recession, saying that tough decision had to be made about pensions, benefits and public sector pay.
When pressed on Afghanistan he said: “In short we should surge up to train up to get out.
“We should train up the Afghan National Army faster so they can secure the country for themselves.”