It is his leadership, and authority, that quelled a political firestorm when the push for Yorkshire-wide devolution, and which he advocated, caused huge tensions with Sheffield City Region – and also the Government.
He’s never received sufficient credit for stepping into the breach, when Minister decreed that South Yorkshire should have its own mayor, and making sure that the area had an effective Combined Authority in his place.
Mr Jarvis also made plain that he would not serve as both mayor, and Labour MP for Barnsley Central, for an indefinite period and, again, he’s been as good as his word on this.
By announcing now his decision not to contest next May’s mayoral election, it provides sufficient time for the most able candidates from across the political spectrum to come forward, be selected and then engage in a serious policy debate about the best way to advance the renewal of Sheffield, Rotherham, Barnsley and Doncaster.
A significant test for Labour because of the size of the void created by Mr Jarvis, the coming months will also reveal the extent of the Tory party’s advance in so-called ‘red wall’ areas – and what that potentially means for national and regional politics.
And while some will be disappointed by the decision of Mr Jarvis to step down from the mayoralty, particularly at a time when the Government appears to be finally bringing some focus to its much-vaunted levelling up policy, his full-time presence at Parliament can only enhance decision-making, policy-making and the quality of debate – even more so in light of his stern warning at the weekend that Ministers need to respect and trust all mayors far more.
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