Deputy leader Jon Rogers picked as mayoral candidate
THE Lib Dem deputy leader Jon Rogers, right, has been chosen to represent his party in November's mayoral elections.
The selection was made by members of the party at a hustings event at the Council House last night.
The former doctor fought off party leader Simon Cook to gain the approval of his peers.
The announcement came after the hustings event, which was held in private.
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Addressing Lib Dem members after the votes had been counted, Dr Rogers said: "I'm honoured to take this position. It is really exciting.
"We have a real opportunity here. Labour think they have it in the bag but Bristol is a Lib Dem city and we have made a huge difference in the way the city runs and the way we deliver services.
"But we have even more to do. My job now is to go out there and listen. Together we can make Bristol even better."
Speaking after the results had been made public, Dr Rogers told the Post: "I knew it was going to be very close. It could have gone either way."
When asked if the Lib Dems could mount a realistic challenge to the favourites, he replied: "Of course. Just in terms of support we have got more seats in the council than anyone else.
"They [Labour] think it's going to be easy, but we are going to give them a run for their money."
Dr Rogers also found time to praise his opposition in the race for the Lib Dem selection.
"He is a worthy candidate and still the leader of the council. We will continue to work closely over the next few months."
Earlier, Lib Dem national deputy leader Simon Hughes told the Bristol members that the mayor race is important regionally and nationally.
He added: "Bristol is a very important city for us as a party and you are the reason why it is important."
The result of the election here could set us up for a generation. The mayor of Bristol could become as well known as the mayor of Paris."
Dr Rogers was a GP in the city for 30 years and is a governor of St Werburgh's Park Nursery and Children's Centre and a trustee for Full Circle, which provides after school clubs and holiday activities for young people.
Having made the selection, he will join nine other confirmed candidates in the mayoral race.
They are: Labour's Marvin Rees, Respect's Paulette North, the Green Party's Daniella Radice and Independents George Ferguson, Andy Thorne, Craig Clarke, Spud Murphy and Corrupt, Lying, Self-Serving B'stard (Eric Mutch).
Rees and Ferguson are the bookies' favourites to take the job.
The Conservative Party is yet to decide on its candidate after releasing a shortlist last week which includes party leader Peter Abraham, former Lord Mayor Geoff Gollop and former city councillor Barbara Lewis.
The Lib Dems currently hold the majority in the council.
But when a mayor is elected in November he or she may pick a new cabinet.
Bristol decided to elect a mayor to lead the council by a small margin in a referendum in May.
The elected mayor will replace the council leader and is different from the lord mayor, whose role is ceremonial.
The election will take place on November 15.