COUNCILLORS in Bolton have delivered a resounding no' to the idea of the town having an elected mayor.

Campaigners fighting the congestion charge plans for Greater Manchester wanted one installed in Bury.

A petition by Manchester Against Road Tolls (MART) had triggered a local poll could have forced an election in which an anti-congestion charge candidate could stand.

But fewer than one in five voters in Bury turned out and 59 per cent of them voted against the idea this week.

And at Wednesday's meeting of Bolton's full council, members unananimously said that they too did not want an elected mayor and would resist Government pressure to have one.

The Liberal Democrat's group leader, Cllr Roger Hayes, proposed a motion urging that the council puts on record that it currently sees no advantage in the installation of an elected mayor in either Bolton or the whole of Greater Manchester'.

He added: "There seems to have been some whisperings in certain parts of all three political parties about it, noticably more from people who know least about local government than most."

Cllr Hayes said elected mayors had proved effective abroad but of the 12 elected mayors in the UK, most had campaiged on single issues rather than broader politics.

He added: "Most of the public don't have a lot of enthusiasm for them. But the Government seems hellbent on pushing it through.

"We are being bounced into this and I hope there are people in all three parties who will come to their senses."

The Conservative's group leader, John Walsh, was also against the idea.

Cllr Walsh said taking power away from the leader, executive, and wider council would be expensive and less democratic'.

Local government minister Hazel Blears wants more elected mayors to encourage greater interest in politics.

But the leader of the council, Labour's Cliff Morris, said he would stand firm.

Cllr Morris said: "All the leaders in the big house' are saying they want an elected mayor but we on this side of the council don't see the need.

"I think I will not be going in favour of an elected mayor.

"We have a robust council, a robust executive and I am prepared to stay where we are, although we must change with the times."

Nationally, there have been 35 referendums on the issue - 12 have been passed and 23 rejected.