'We have to put our city ahead of party politics'
ARCHITECT George Ferguson has launched his campaign to become Bristol's first elected mayor.
In a speech at the Tobacco Factory in Southville last night, he told supporters he would stand as an independent candidate campaigning under the banner Bristol First.
Although he did not outline policies he would introduce, he expressed a desire to deliver an arena, have a tree planted in the city for every resident and redraw Bristol's boundaries to cover the wider metropolitan area.
Wearing his trademark red trousers, Mr Ferguson told an audience of about 100 people he would set up focus groups and think tanks before formulating his policy and hitting the campaign trail in September.
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After delivering a speech, he fielded questions from the audience packed in the Tobacco Factory's bar.
Mr Ferguson, pictured, told the audience: "I've been in Bristol since 1965 and it's a place I've loved and hated in different ways. I've hated some of things that have happened to the city but it's a brilliant city and it could be even more brilliant.
"We should put Bristol before all else – those who live here and are passionate about the city should be put before our political parties and organisations."
Mr Ferguson said he hoped people from all parties and those who were not politically aligned would pledge to join his campaign by offering their skills and their views.
He told the audience: "We've been dominated and polluted by an obsession with party politics which were designed for national government. People have been elected to be councillors because of what's going on nationally, not what they are doing locally.
"It's important Bristol votes for people who care about Bristol."
If elected, he said he would "grab power from central government and redistribute it to where it belongs".
Mr Ferguson promised not to criticise other candidates or "play dirty politics" in the lead up to the election, which will be held on November 15.