Peterborough's Mayor says he won't watch King Charles III's Coronation

Mayor Alan Dowson said he supports ‘anything that binds people together’ – but won’t be ‘raising my hat’
Mayor Alan Dowson will be 'participating' in the Coronation - but won't watch itMayor Alan Dowson will be 'participating' in the Coronation - but won't watch it
Mayor Alan Dowson will be 'participating' in the Coronation - but won't watch it

Coronation celebrations are underway in Peterborough with the city centre festooned with bunting and red, white and blue tree lights.

But while Mayor Alan Dowson will be “participating” in the festivities, such as by attending street parties and evensong at the cathedral, he won’t be watching King Charles III being crowned.

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“I’ll be doing what I did in 1953,” the Labour mayor said. “I was quite young then, but I didn’t watch it.”

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Mr Dowson, a self-proclaimed republican, added that he “can’t be two places at once” and will be busy with his civic duties.

“I recognise that communities are coming together and that’s great,” he continued. “Anything that binds people – but I won’t be raising my hat.”

Mr Dowson, whose period as Peterborough mayor is due to end later this year, also attended a celebratory event at St John’s Church in the city centre ahead of the Coronation.

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‘Crowns and carriages’ at the church brought together classic cars, flower displays, historic costumes, craft activities and refreshments.

Labour mayor unhappy with election outcome in Peterborough and voter ID

But while he’s celebrating the Coronation – in his own way – he’s not in a particularly celebratory mood about Peterborough’s local elections.

“Peterborough bucks the system,” he said. “Labour was doing really well, but Labour, locally, seems to have pushed the self-destruct button. We’ve lost some really good councillors to the Green Party. Their gain is Labour’s loss.”

Cllr Heather Skibsted defected from Labour to the Greens last year and kept her Orton Longueville seat at the election.

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But Imtiaz Ali, another Green defector, lost his seat to the Labour candidate Nick Thulbourn.

Mr Dowson, also a Labour councillor himself – albeit not one who was up for election this year – was also critical of the new voter ID requirement.

In his own ward, Fletton and Woodston, he saw people being turned away, he said.

“I saw some of the people being rejected because they didn’t have the identity qualification which I found a backward step for democracy,” he said. “I hope they change it. It was a great injustice, I thought.”

Coronation events like that at St John’s Church are happening throughout the city.