South Yorkshire's metro mayor Dan Jarvis today called on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to work more closely with regional leaders as the country emerges from the pandemic.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Mayor Jarvis, who is also the MP for Barnsley Central, asked for a ‘reset of relationships’ with metro mayors in England to work closely with them to get regional economies back on track.
The PM, in response, agreed to work closely with mayors across the country but said he preferred regional leaders ‘who champion their area’ insteading of ‘people who whinge and blame central government for things’.
Mayor Jarvis, who is currently working in both his mayoral and MP role at the same time, has said he will have a decision to make before the 2022 Sheffield City Region election on which job he wants to continue doing.
The Labour politician said he took the job on as the role didn’t have a paid salary and wanted to get the devolution agreement finalised, which happened last year.
Mayor Jarvis said: “I’m sure the Prime Minister will want to warmly welcome the newly elected metro mayors Nik Johnson [Cambridgeshire and Peterborough], Dan Norris [West of England] and of course, Tracy Brabin [West Yorkshire].“As the Prime Minister well knows, serving as a mayor is an immense privilege but as Covid-19 has proved, it is not without its frustrations.
“Can I urge the Prime Minister to use this moment, to reset the relationship with the English mayors and work in collaboration and closely with us as we emerge from the pandemic.”
In response, Mr Johnson said: “Mr Speaker, I certainly can and I believe the mayors and the mayoral authorities should have their say.
“In my experience, I think there are two types of mayor and the mayoral project is a great one and it tends to produce mayors who champion their area and get on and take responsibility or people who whinge and blame central government for things. I much prefer type A than to type B, Mr Speaker.”
Separately, a senior Labour MP has been criticised for saying that young people in Doncaster ‘have to get out to get on’.
Shadow foreign secretary and Wigan MP Lisa Nandy, made the comments on Good Morning Britain when asked about Labour’s election performance.
But the comments were slapped down by business boss Dan Fell from Doncaster Chamber who said the comments were ‘unhelpful’ and ‘didn’t reflect’ what was going on in the borough’s economy.
Mr Fell added Ms Nandy had made the ‘throw away comments to make a wider point’ but added that Doncaster has ‘really compelling career prospects and career opportunities’ for young people.
Ms Nandy said: “Young people in places like Hartlepool, Wigan and Doncaster have to get out to get on.
“It means the good jobs have disappeared, it means they don’t have the spending power in those communities to sustain their high streets, their pubs, banks, post offices, their bus networks and we are determined to change that.
“We don’t want to see people propelled (into other areas of the country).
“I think the debate at the moment is who can be the party that makes sure that we get good jobs back into communities like Doncaster and Wigan – that’s what people want to know.”
In response to the comment, Mr Fell said: “It feels like that’s a throwaway comment to make a wider point, but equally, I think it’s really unhelpful.
“Instead of seeking to support and advocate for places like Doncaster and Wigan, I think what she’s done is misrepresenting what’s going on in our economy at the moment.
“I believe we have some cracking businesses in Doncaster and I think we’ve seen some terrific investment into economic growth over the last 10 years.
“We do have some really compelling career prospects and career opportunities for young people and people of all ages in Doncaster.”
Mr Fell added Ms Nandy’s comments were of ‘perverse timing’ as the chamber was about to host an event which partners 4,000 young people with 75 local employers.
The business boss did say he wanted Doncaster to also be exporting talent across the country and the world but said good jobs should be available for young people in the borough if they choose.