Labour’s row over the nomination of Dan Jarvis as the party’s candidate for Sheffield City Region mayor has been mocked by a campaign rival.
The Yorkshire Party’s Mick Bower quipped as he secured his nomination for the May 3 election: “Let’s see how many others get across the line - some of the other parties are making it difficult for themselves”.
It comes with Mr Jarvis embroiled in a dispute with Labour’s ruling body over his desire to combine the mayoralty with his job as Barnsley Central MP.
Mr Jarvis has always said he wanted to combine the two roles while sacrificing his mayoral salary, as the devolved post will initially have “no power and no resources”, and he wants to maintain influence in Westminster to get a good deal for the area and push for a ‘One Yorkshire’ agreement that would replace the Sheffield deal in 2020.
But a decision by Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC) that he cannot combine the two roles has led to a row which escalated last week when Mr Jarvis was backed by Yorkshire MPs, the party’s Shadow Communities Secretary Andrew Gwynne and South Yorkshire’s four council leaders.
Time is running out for the party to resolve its differences, with the prospect of the NEC stripping Mr Jarvis of the nomination still on the table despite the Friday April 6 deadline for candidates to be declared.
Mr Bower reiterated his backing for a One Yorkshire deal but could not resist a joke at Labour’s expense as he handed his nomination papers in.
He said: “I’m delighted to be on the ballot paper for May’s metro mayor election. Let’s see how many others get across the line - some of the other parties are making it difficult for themselves!
“As we get closer to polling day, it’s clear to me that what’s on offer for Sheffield and the three other local councils is limited and unambitious. The deal for the city region also comes with very little money to achieve anything.
“The people of Doncaster and Barnsley have already voted to get together with the rest of Yorkshire and I think if the question was asked of the people of Sheffield and Rotherham they’d say the same. So let’s get together with the rest of Yorkshire as soon as possible and deliver some real economic, social and democratic change.
“I have been campaigning hard over the last months and have talked to a lot of people. They all say the same: it’s time for change. Together, let’s build the case for a fairer, more prosperous Yorkshire for all and make that change happen.”