UKIP combined authority mayor candidate ‘would scrap county council’
PUBLISHED: 12:00 21 January 2017
The UK Independence Party has selected county councillor Paul Bullen as its candidate for May’s poll to elect a mayor to lead the new Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority.
Mr Bullen, a marine surveyor who lives in St Ives, voted last year with the rest of his party against devolution on the grounds that a new layer of government was not needed. One of his first targets would be to get rid of the county council.
“I don’t see why the combined authority cannot take over the jobs that the county council does,” he told the Cambridge Independent.
“I firmly believe that any elected member in local government can do the job of the mayor. I would be extremely transparent. If there’s something we have to hide we should not be doing it in the first place.
“I will not go straight in there if I’m elected and spend all the money. It’s not £600million, it’s £20million per year for 30 years, and it’s not extra money, it’s Government money from taxes.”
He added: “The problem with Cambridgeshire is infrastructure – I’m not against growth, but I think we need to get right what we’ve got now. Why would I spend £20million on a new road when the roads we have now aren’t fit for purpose?”
Mr Bullen said that he would review the possible removal of city bus lanes and a large proportion of traffic lights in efforts to alleviate congestion in Cambridge, which he said has been done in Liverpool.
“If I could, I would prioritise new homes for local people,” he said. “If you are a 25-year-old married couple with children who haven’t been able to afford a home, and your parents live in Cambridgeshire, and your grandparents, and you want to stay in the area, you should be priority one.”
Mr Bullen will run against independent Peter Dawe and Liberal Democrat Rod Cantrill, a Cambridge city councillor, in May.
The Labour candidate will be Cambridge City Council deputy leader Kevin Price or county councillor Fiona Onasanya.
The Conservatives have dropped South Cambridgeshire MP Heidi Allen from the race based on a points system follwing a panel interview of the candidates. Ms Allen had said she would have carried out the mayoral job alongside her role as MP.
On the Tories’ shortlist is East Cambs councillor James Palmer, county council leader Steve Count and Huntingdonshire councillor Roger Harrison.