2012 - 3 May

No 107,910 63.3%
Yes 62,440 36.7%

The Local Government Act of 2000, introduced by the Labour Government, made provision for the establishment of directly elected mayors. Following the general election of 2010, the Conservative led Coalition Government then decided to hold a series of referenda in the largest English cities on whether to introduce directly elected mayors. The Department for Communities and Local Government then launched a consultation and the Government finally announced that eleven referenda would be held in Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Coventry, Doncaster, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle upon Tyne, Nottingham, Sheffield and Wakefield. Bristol chose to adopt the system and Doncaster to retain it. The rest voted not to take up the proposal.

The ballot paper in Leeds read: ‘How would you like Leeds to be run?

By a leader who is an elected councillor chosen by a vote of the other elected councillors. This how the council is run now.


By a mayor who is elected by voters. This would be a change from how the council is run now.’

The Labour leader of the council, Keith Wakefield, claimed that it was ‘utter madness’ to go ahead with such a proposal whilst the Conservative and Liberal Democrats similarly opted to vote ‘No’.