Your correspondent Jerry England asked some pertinent questions regarding next month’s Mayoral Election: he wanted to know what qualifications and experience each candidate possessed that might qualify them for the role, and he wanted to know what the Mayor is accountable and responsible for (Show us your CV, Letters to the Editor, March 23). So far, no one has answered these very reasonable inquiries. So here goes.

The Labour candidate has served as a Watford councillor for 18 years, and is the Labour deputy group leader. He works in the Prison Service and has been an active trade union official. He was the defeated Labour candidate in the 2014 Mayoral Election. He has lived in Watford for many years.

The Lib Dem candidate has been a councillor since 2012. When he was chosen as Lib Dem candidate last year, the outgoing Mayor appointed him deputy mayor. He has worked as a teacher and is currently an assistant director for the Catholic Education Service. He has a degree in economics and politics from Edinburgh University. He has lived in Watford for about eight years. As a councillor he has been an unwavering supporter of the outgoing Mayor: “I want to build on her legacy for Watford”, he writes in his election address.

The Conservative candidate had no connection with Watford until he was chosen as the candidate last autumn. He has never served as an elected councillor nor has he been employed in local government. He has contested a number of national and local elections but has never been elected. Professionally he advises on economic and financial matters. He is reported as saying he would draw no salary as Mayor.

Regarding Mr England’s second question (the responsibilities of the post of Mayor) things are not quite as clear. Last week the Observer printed an article supplied by the council (What is the difference between Watford’s Mayor and others?) with the sub-title ‘Watford’s mayoral system explained’. This article turned out to be a reworking of a letter from Manny Lewis, managing director of Watford Council, that had appeared in the Observer on January 19: “...the authority to make tough strategic decisions and build major partnerships... the leader of a place, not just the leader of the council” were comments typical of his view of mayoral power. But none of his high-flown verbiage was able to hide the simple truth that the post of Elected Mayor carries no specific powers whatsoever other than those which Watford Council itself can exercise; the title hides only a hollow crown. Our Mayor’s actions for the past sixteen years have only been possible because behind her there has always been a solid majority of Lib Dem councillors content to grant her every wish. A leader of the council (rather than a salaried elected mayor) could have taken all the actions for which the Mayor claims credit, but at much less expense and with greater accountability to the electors.

Out of 207 district councils in England, Watford is now the only town which still has an Elected Mayor who openly boasts a party political affiliation. Are the other 206 all out of step?

I hope this may help Mr England in deciding whether to vote and which candidate deserves his X.

Anthony Bramley-Harker

Hibbert Avenue, Watford