EVEN THOUGH Labour continues to be accused of offering insufficient clarity on the viability of its spending commitments or, more pertinently, its approach to Brexit, the national leadership’s neutrality over the One Yorkshire devolution deal is understandable.
After all, there’s every likelihood that the first Sheffield City Region metro mayor will be the Labour candidate and the party’s high command clearly does not want to be too prescriptive now the selection process is underway.
That said, the candidature of Barnsley Central MP Dan Jarvis – a primary architect of One Yorkshire – has been a game-changer because of his desire to use the mayoral platform to enable the whole county to unite under a single leadership structure. He has already changed the dynamics of the debate for the better.
And what is encouraging, given Sheffield Council’s long-held resistance to Yorkshire-wide devolution, is that Mr Jarvis’s two chief rivals agree to concur – both political veteran Richard Caborn, the one-time Sports Minister, and Ben Curran, a current Sheffield city councillor, have issued statements to The Yorkshire Post committing themselves, if elected, to a more collaborative approach.
Just like Mr Jarvis, Coun Curran says he is prepared to make the “Mayor of South Yorkshire role redundant” if this is deemed to be in the greater good while Mr Caborn views this May’s election as a “building block to subsequently deliver a wider Yorkshire deal”. It is a level of unanimity, at this early stage, that bodes well for the future – if all three are as good as their word.