South Ribble’s new mayoral team could be first of its kind in the whole of the UK

As South Ribble’s new mayor takes up his civic post, there is a chance that he could be part of history in the making.

Veteran borough councillor Peter Mullineaux is the archetypal candidate for first citizen – a member of the district council for 21 years, he has fulfilled a raft of roles during that time. There is also nothing unusual in his selection of a friend of 40 years, Margaret McManus, to accompany him as mayoress while he discharges his duties for the next 12 months.

Put the two together, however, and they could be a unique pairing – at least in Lancashire and possibly beyond. That is because they have both now supported each other during stints as mayor for two different areas. Back in 2015, Margaret – a former Preston councillor – became mayor of the city and invited Peter to be her consort. Now she is doing effectively the same job for him – and he says his experience in Preston almost a decade ago helped him learn the ropes for what lies ahead.

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“I’d like to find out whether we’re the first in Lancashire [to be in this position] – it would be nice to know that,” Peter told the Local Democracy Reporting Service. “I think to be privileged to serve two councils in this way would be pretty unusual.

“[The role] is also second nature now because I’ve been there and seen it done as consort.”

A former leader of South Ribble – between 2016 and and 2018 – Peter says that having Margaret at his side during the mayoral year will undoubtedly make the job easier. Although both are apolitical roles, he says it can only be of benefit to have someone of like mind supporting him.

“Margaret and myself have been involved in politics for a long time – whereas in some cases, the mayoress or mayor’s consort may have nothing to do with [that]. From our point of view, we’re both on the same wavelength.”

Peter, who represents the Samlesbury and Walton ward, will be raising funds for four nominated charities during his time as mayor – Alzheimer’s UK, St. Catherine’s Hospice, Tender Nursing Care and sight loss charity Galloways.

The retired father-of-three says that his previous senior roles on the council – which include a stint as a cabinet member – meant the “time was never right” to put those jobs to one side in order to become mayor.

“It’s now got to the stage after over 20 years where it seems fitting to take on the role – and I’ve been privileged enough to have the honour to do that.

“Most people love to see the mayor and people who have invited you to events are really proud that you can attend. I’m really looking forward to meeting people all across the borough,” he added.