Metro Mayors around the United Kingdom have been elected, so who was elected where? Let’s take a look!
First and for most is the most well-known Metro Mayor, the London Mayor.
Sadiq Khan won this battle for Labour but it was not the landslide he was expecting. Hopefully that means he will deliver on his manifesto, protecting jobs, opposing austerity, building a better, fairer, greener city, tackling crime, making commuting more affordable, council homes not luxury homes, introducing rent controls (!), tackling climate change with bold actions and of course sticking up for Londoner’s values.
Moving on to England’s second city, Birmingham and the west midlands, one of the few Conservative metro mayors was elected, Andy Street. Looking at the vote Birmingham city wasn’t great but the wider region loved him. Andy will need to work hard if he wishes to stay in post and his aims were to create jobs, boost industry and deliver apprenticeships, build more homes on brownfield, invest in a world-class transport system, boost high streets, tackle rough sleeping, build upon the creative sector and tackling climate change.
And our third big city decided to vote for ‘King of the North’ Andy Burnham, he really did win a landslide and battered all of his opposition in Greater Manchester but it wasn’t fluttering his pretty eyelashes or through his cute cartoon avatar which won him the votes, Andy stood on a manifesto to level up Manchester with better transport, jobs and homes. He intends to take buss under public control, have a London-style system with a daily price cap on bus, trams and bikes, he wants the city to hit carbon zero by 2038, he wants to launch a ‘GM Works’ front door for anyone seeking work training or advice for jobs, have all employers pay the living wage, end homelessness, increase police and fire numbers and focus on good lives for all.
The controversial vote which ended up being not so controversial after all – Liverpool saw Joe Anderson being replaced by Joanne Anderson, they’re not related but both back Labour. Joanne describes herself as the first black, female UK city mayor and insists she is ‘relaxed’ about the role…Great start. A business consultant who has worked for the Crown Prosecution Service she will be working hard to regain the trust of Liverpool residents after the Council corruption scandal but it looks as though she has the credentials to do just that. She aims to make the city one of opportunity for youth with a rejuvenated social sector and affordable homes, she will take steps to reduce the city’s carbon footprint and deal with the previous failings of the City Council’s leadership. Joanne made it clear in her campaign that she has faced bankruptcy not once but several times – here is hoping this won’t be the story for Liverpool!
The Liverpool City Region mayor was also nabbed by a Labour candidate, Steve Rotherham was re-elected. Some of you may also recognise Mr Rotherham from his time as Liverpool Walton’s MP. No stranger to elections, it was an easy win for his team. Steve has made it clear that the Government ‘as to back further devolution’ because people aren’t bothered about what happens in Westminster. He should know he worked there! Steve has been working hard to renovate the public transport system, will set up a fund for local businesses to help with Covid19 recovery, start a green industrial revolution and ensure that the economy is fair, inclusive and that nobody is left behind. Steve spent a lot of his campaign discussing how great the vaccination programme was in his area, a nice boost to his vote!
Moving to a different MP, well now an ex-MP, Tracy Brabin won the election for Labour in the West Yorkshire Region, while this means she will be stepping down in her role as MP causing a by-election, the move seemed to be a bit of a pay rise for her, so no complaints! Tracey hopes to boost safety in the region, particularly for young women with 750 more police officers and staff. Tracey is a survivor of sexual assault so also wants to focus on refuges for domestic violence. With a creative background from her time in Corrie, she wants to boost the arts sector and has a personal interest in boosting health and care after her father in law had a very poor experience in local health facilities. During her campaign there was an issue about her allegedly offering chocolate brownies to voters, did her cooking win them over? Who knows!
Staying in the west, the West of England Metro Mayor is Labour party member and ex-MP, Dan Norris. Focussing upon high streets he pledged to help rebuild pot pandemic, he’s promised investment into local shops. He has pledged to improve local transport, address inadequate skills training, meet the challenges of dementia and to reduce animal cruelty (known for being pelted by pro hunt protestors!). Mr Norris took his seat from the Conservatives so this is one of the real Labour gains this time around. Perhaps Sir Kier Starmer should be listening to what Dan Norris has to say…..
Salford saw Paul Dennett re-elected as city mayor he stood on the same pledges as Andy Burnham being a neighbour and all. While they will work close together Mr Dennett also used his campaign to focus on his successes so far, particularly in bringing empty homes back into use, helping veterans get into work and find homes, securing a green flag for Kersal Moor and Kersal Dale and boosting flood defences at the River Irwell. He also wants to restore Buile Hill Mansion build ‘green pathways’ for commuters and keep as many Council contracts as possible with local businesses. Let’s hope he continues to deliver.
Marvin Rees was another re-election for Labour as metro mayor for Bristol. He aims to make Bristol city one city rather than two, in his mind there is a contrast between the highly educated, arty, foody sector with lots of green space and the run down, side. He pledges to continue building upon the 9000 new homes in the area, keeping libraries and children’s centres open, creating an integrated transport system and to turn Bristol into a city of hope. His campaign had huge backing from residents, poets, migrants and even Joe Sims doing a Trainspotting style advert for him. Choose a Bristolian!
Cambridge & Peterborough election campaign got interesting, while the result was close, it was a clear win for local councillor Nik Johnson. A well known face having repeatedly tried to become MP in Cambridge, Nik certainly has some election experience behind him. A local NHS doctor on children’s ward he drew some controversy as he was ‘banned’ from standing as ‘Dr Nik Johnson’ on the ballot paper something he had stood on in four previous elections but it was fine in his literature. His election campaign had a focus on making buses reliable cheap and green a bigger issue than you’d think in the cities. He is focussed on clean air for good health, building affordable homes and tackling the dreaded plight of potholes – you can tell he’s a councillor! We wish him all the best in all the wards he’s working in!
Heading north we saw Doncaster Mayor re-elected for the third time running, Ros Jones, she won by a clear 10K votes and hoped to build upon the work she had already done as well as help Doncaster bounce back from the pandemic. Ros Jones has committed to launching a task-force for Covid-recovery, create a master plan to revitalise town centres and high streets and have a ‘growing together’ plan so that nobody is left behind. While Ros is Labour through and through she campaigns in her own way, less of the slick red backgrounds but that really seems to chime with the locals. Still campaigning for a bypass at Hickleton and Marr she feels she will need to lobby Government for the funds, as a Mayor who seems to be delivering on her pledges, we are sure the Treasury can give her an ear despite being the wrong party!
Staying up north Mayor of North Tyneside’s election was Labour member Norma Redfearn. Although she was elected for the first time way back in 2013, making her another third-termer mayor, it is clear the locals love her with over 55% of the vote going her way. Her campaign focussed on continuing to build the multi-million regeneration project in Whitley Bay and the Spanish City, tackling the climate change emergency and ensuring that Forest Hall town centre receives major investment to regenerate. While criticised by some for removing every active travel initiative – including cycleways, Ms Redfearn has focussed on keeping green spaces open and sought to build new homes on brownfield land.
Finally we have our only other Conservative metro mayor, Ben Houchen mayor for Tees Valley, with a whopping 72% of the vote, it was clear the locals are happy with Ben’s work, despite it being unusual to see Tory candidate doing so well, so far north. Ben was a key factor in the civil service moving north and indeed they are moving to his patch. Mr Houchen continued his pledge to work on the Redcar Steelworks site, saw a boost in the adult education budget and now wants to see sport and music gain investment – particularly Rugby League. He has pledged to increase the number of local jobs available, make the airport publicly owned (unusual for a Conservative!) and seek investment in road, rail and green transport links backed by a sustainable access to employment programme. One of the few Tories winning in the cities, we wish him well.
So it is clear from the metro mayors that the party in Government are lagging behind despite the wins in the local council elections, will they ever win the metropolitan spaces again? Do Labour just understand the needs of cities much better? Tricky questions which no doubt will be discussed, debated and scrutinised over the next few weeks as all political parties look back on their results. But we hope you enjoyed the brief intros and recognise the faces as they hit the media.
We wish all the new mayors the best of luck in a tough job and let’s hope they all do their bit to improve their cities.