Labour candidate defends plans to drop Peterborough’s name from mayoral body as ‘addressing injustice’

Labour’s metro mayor candidate has insisted that plans to drop ‘Peterborough’ from the name of the county’s mayoral authority will empower the city and end a long-standing “injustice”.

By Joel Lamy
Friday, 30th April 2021, 7:09 am
Dr Nik Johnson
Dr Nik Johnson

Dr Nik Johnson has pledged to change the name of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority to the Greater Cambridgeshire Combined Authority which he said would mirror the equivalents in Greater Manchester and Greater London and help create a “joint identity”.

This led to an attack from his Liberal Democrat opponent Aidan Van de Weyer who described the idea as “disappointing,” but Dr Johnson, a district councillor in Huntingdonshire and children’s doctor, has defended the idea.

He said: “As an NHS doctor and a mayoral candidate who has an occasional work base in Peterborough I am well aware of its unique economic and cultural identity as Cambridgeshire’s largest city.

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Aidan Van de Weyer

“I strongly believe that the current combined authority’s full title as “Cambridgeshire and Peterborough” has been to the detriment of the city.

“Peterborough has been treated unfairly as an ‘extra’ and has not had its fair share of the attention and investment it deserves.

“A renaming of the authority as Greater Cambridgeshire could, I believe, address that injustice to such a great city.

“Peterborough has every right to be seen as a Northern Powerhouse in the area of Greater Cambridgeshire and should have the investment and support to match such ambition.”

Dr Johnson, the Labour and Co-operative candidate, was responding to comments from Mr Van de Weyer to the Peterborough Telegraph.

The Liberal Democrat candidate said: “The suggestion that Peterborough be dropped from name of the mayoral combined authority is really disappointing.

“The city of Peterborough has its own identity and history, quite separate from that of Cambridgeshire. Peterborough is the largest city in the area and its economic and cultural importance should be recognised by public institutions like the combined authority.

“There is a perception in Peterborough - based in reality, it must be said - that investment and support is more focussed on the more prosperous areas of southern Cambridgeshire. As mayor I will reverse that and I will keep Peterborough in the name of combined authority.”

May 6 will see the second vote for elected mayor in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. Conservative incumbent James Palmer is also standing.

The combined authority currently has devolved powers in areas including transport, affordable housing, growth and adult education.