England

'One mayor' devolution call for Yorkshire and the Humber

Jon Trickett
Image caption Labour MP Jon Trickett said a debate should be held on the possibility of an elected mayor for the whole Yorkshire and the Humber region

A directly-elected mayor should run a single devolved region taking in the whole of Yorkshire and the Humber, a senior shadow minister has said.

Jon Trickett told a conference in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, that a "Council for the North" should also be set up.

The Labour MP's comments come after a mayoral election for the Sheffield City Region was pushed back to 2018.

The delay followed a High Court ruling about a flawed consultation process.

Voters were expected to choose an elected mayor for South Yorkshire and parts of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire for the first time in May under a deal announced by then chancellor George Osborne in 2015.

Image caption Devolution talks in Yorkshire are lagging behind Greater Manchester, which will choose its first directly-elected mayor in May

The move, agreed to give Sheffield and its surrounding region greater freedom to boost growth, meant £900m of extra funding.

But Derbyshire County Council took a challenge to the High Court, which agreed that people in Chesterfield had not been properly consulted.

On Thursday, the Sheffield City Region Combined Authority said it could not deliver the revised consultation programme for Chesterfield in time for May elections.

Idea a 'non-starter'

Mr Trickett, who is also shadow Lord President of the Council, said: "I will press my case but others may have a different view.

"Let there be a debate, but not a long one - the only thing we cannot consider is inaction."

Image copyright PA
Image caption A devolution package was announced by then chancellor George Osborne in 2015

Mr Trickett, MP for Hemsworth, was speaking at a conference attended by council leaders from across Yorkshire.

Ros Jones, Mayor of Doncaster, said the Sheffield City Region delay provided an opportunity to discuss alternative strategies.

She said: "It does not mean that the Sheffield City Region is dead, but we must discuss what is the best option for Doncaster and the whole of Yorkshire."

Councillor Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council, said she wanted to explore the option of an all-Yorkshire deal.

Labour MPs in South Yorkshire issued a joint statement criticising the idea, with the Government's Devolution minister Andrew Percy calling it a "non-starter".

Mr Percy said: "Postponing [Sheffield City Region's] launch is fine, but any attempt by its members to renegotiate could set us back years."

More on this story