Birmingham restaurant to host mayoral debate

Opus restaurant in the Colmore business district has gathered four out of five of the candidates for West Midlands metro mayor to join in a panel debate to discuss the post and its influence on the region in March.

The restaurant has teamed up with Birmingham Press Club to present the first conversation of 2017 in its new series of ‘Opus in Conversation’ which will be held throughout the year. Previous events have included a pre-Brexit debate with leading campaigners and an environmentally-focussed discussion on the future of bees.

Ann Tonks, director at Opus, will host the event and has personally persuaded the candidates to take part. Birmingham Press Club director and Trinity Mirror Midlands publisher Marc Reeves will chair the debate.

Ann Tonks said: “We were inspired to launch our ‘in conversation’ series because of the range of business people and influencers we get to converse with at the restaurant.

“I’ve spoken individually to most of the metro mayor candidates, but I think that the best way to get an idea of what they stand for is to ask them all the same questions together.

“Restaurants are great places to get conversations going and after our panel discussions, the participants have stayed with us for dinner, along with many of the audience, so the discussions can continue.”

Llewela Bailey, Birmingham Press Club chairman, said: “We are developing our programme of events to embrace some of the more serious subjects facing the region. Getting candidates for this new role together is important and in the neutral setting of a restaurant and under the chairmanship of Marc Reeves I think we are going to be far better informed than we would at individual hustings.”

The metro mayor will be elected in May to represent Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall, and Wolverhampton.

Candidates already confirmed include Andy Street (Conservative candidate), Beverley Nielsen (Liberal Democrat candidate), James Burn (Green Party candidate) and  Pete Durnell (UKIP)

Opus in Conversation: Mayoral Debate will be on Tuesday 21st March from 5:30pm.

Tickets are free and can be booked on  

For more information on Opus, visit