New combined authority Mayor’s message to Peterborough after dramatic election victory
The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority has a new Metro Mayor following a narrow victory for Labour candidate, Dr Nik Johnson.
Dr Johnson won by just 4,556 votes after counting which began at 10am Saturday (8 May), was carried forward from the regional counts to the main hub where the announcement was made in Soham.
Three candidates had stood for the position of Mayor of the Combined Authority: incumbent Mayor James Palmer (Conservative) (93,942 votes) and Labour candidate Dr Nik Johnson (76,106 votes), defeated Aiden van de Weyer (LibDem) (61,885 votes) in the preliminary round of voting.
James Palmer and Dr Nik Johnson went forward to the second round of the contest where Local Returning Officers would count the second preference of voters of the eliminated candidate.
As the results from East Cambridgeshire District Council, Fenland District Council, Huntingdon District Council and South Cambs District Council came in the margin between the two candidates narrowed from 17,836 votes to just 2,059 votes.
At just before 7pm it was clear from the remaining local councils that Dr Nik Johnson had taken a lead of 4,556 votes and won the contest.
Mayor Johnson said in his victory speech that he would do all he could to create a ‘Greater’ Cambridgeshire and thanked the voters for ‘having the courage to elect him Mayor of the Combined Authority’, a role he hoped he would do his utmost to live up to.
Outgoing Mayor, James Palmer was magnanimous in defeat, congratulating new Mayor Johnson and wishing him luck, but also said he was saddened that some of the projects he had worked so hard for in the past four years would not now be completed under his tenure.
Afterwards, new Mayor Johnson addressed the people of Peterborough who had helped him to get over the line to victory, saying: “I work within the North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust and have spent a lot of my time in the past few years in Peterborough, so I believe I know the challenges that face the city especially with city hospital.
“I have talked very much during this campaign about a Greater Cambridgeshire and that must include Peterborough which, I think has been more than a little forgotten about by the Combined Authority in the past, and that will not happen under my leadership, I can assure the people of the city.
“I’ve always felt that it was the Combined Authority and Cambridge and Cambridgeshire and that was more than a little unfair on Peterborough which is, after all, one of the most multi-cultural, vibrant and growing cities not just in the county, but in the whole of the United Kingdom.
“I absolutely recognise the individuality of Peterborough as a city, but I think that individuality should be part of the greater good and part of my vision for a Greater Cambridgeshire.
“Cambridgeshire is like a microcosm of the United Kingdom, you’ve got the relevantly affluent southerly part, you’ve got the ‘middle England’ in the market towns; but I think that Peterborough is like the Northern Powerhouse – a sleeping giant – that needs awakening to realise its enormous potential.
“I’m now looking forward to working, yes with the Labour Group in Peterborough, to bring this vision about, but also with the other political parties as well so that together we can realise The City Of Culture ambition, create the Environmental Capital of the country and extend my leadership as Mayor of the Combined Authority so that Cambridgeshire can become the County of Culture.”