COMMENT: Why city’s mayor should not be above the law ...

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There is a picture in today’s Portsmouth News that is guaranteed to annoy thousands of motorists who regularly drive around the city of Portsmouth.

The photograph clearly shows the mayor of Portsmouth’s Jaguar car parked illegally at a bus stop.

It was no one-off either – the car has been spotted in the same place in London Road, Copnor, a few times and also parked in a loading bay opposite.

Local residents are understandably angry. Surely the same rule that applies to the general public should apply to Lee Mason – currently Portsmouth’s First Citizen – as well? While expecting – and receiving – some privileges as a result of his position, the ability to park wherever his drivers wish is not necessarily one of those special entitlements.

Cllr Mason has claimed there is a good reason why the mayoral car has been parked illegally, and as a result creating further traffic woe in a city where everyone who has ever driven in it knows the scale of the problems. That good reason is the fact the mayoress, his mum Sylvia, is disabled.

While most people will be sympathetic with the mayor, taxpayers will still find it hard to understand why the Jaguar needs to be left at a bus stop.

The bottom line is this – there are far bigger concerns and worries for the people who live in Portsmouth than where the mayor, who does a lot of good for the city lest we forget, leaves his car.

Some might argue why the council spends over £20,000 a year on the Jaguar, but what do they want – the mayor turning up at events in a battered old Cortina?

However, even with all that in mind, it is definitely bad PR to leave the car at a bus stop. And PR counts. No one should be seen to be above the law, and that – despite his role and personal circumstances –certainly includes Cllr Mason.