David Cameron's dream of elected mayors in all major cities looked to be in tatters today.
Voters in Manchester, Nottingham, Coventry and Bradford said no to the idea in referendums and there were signs that other cities may have followed suit.
The results are embarrassing for the Prime Minister, who had thrown his weight firmly behind the change.
Mr Cameron had attempted to use the example of London Mayor Boris Johnson, saying he wanted a "Boris in every city."
However critics argued that the proposals were unnecessary and would add another expensive layer of bureaucracy.
Manchester voted against by a margin of 53.24 per cent to 46.76 per cent and Nottingham by 57.5 per cent to 42.5 per cent. Both cities had a low turnout of 24 per cent.
The outcome in Coventry was more resounding, with just 36.42 per cent backing the change and 63.58 per cent opposing it. In Bradford the vote was 44.87 per cent for and 55.13 per cent against.
Nottingham City Council's Labour leader Jon Collins said: "This was a referendum imposed on us by the coalition government which the majority of local people clearly did not agree with."
However Bristol bucked the national trend and voted for an elected mayor.
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