Government is 'easily distracted' with 'focus on Parliament' Tracy Brabin says, one year into job as mayor

Central government is “easily distracted” a Yorkshire mayor has claimed, as she suggested Parliamentary demands can take precedence over dealing with other issues.

Mayor of West Yorkshire Tracy Brabin
Mayor of West Yorkshire Tracy Brabin

Tracy Brabin said there is an “increasing desire for control for the centre” as she suggested that promises of getting more involved in the regions do not always come to fruition.

When asked how she finds working with central Government, the Mayor of West Yorkshire told The Yorkshire Post: “Well, it has its challenges because central government is easily distracted.” She described the “focus is sometimes Parliament” because the issues can be “more urgent”.

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Ms Brabin later added: “Whilst there are there are promises from government about being more involved in the regions, sometimes you don’t see that in reality.

“So Michael Gove, for example, at the Convention of the North, announced on the stage, he was going to spend a day with me, we’ve yet to get that in the diary, which has been a little bit frustrating, because there’s lots we could discuss.

“And also, whilst government and the levelling up white paper have been really loud and proud about devolution, we are seeing actually, in the day to day work that my colleagues are doing, that there’s an increasing desire for control from the centre.”

The former Batley and Spen MP spoke to this newspaper as she celebrated her first year in office, having been elected as the region’s first metro mayor in May 2021.

Ms Brabin said that making the change from Parliament to the mayoralty had been “one of the best decisions I made”, as she particularly remarked on her pride of being the first female metro mayor to be elected.

A spotlight has been shone on some of the challenges women in political roles face in recent weeks, following a series of stories emerging in Westminster, including the resignation of former Conservative MP Neil Parish after being caught watching pornography in the House of Commons.

Ms Brabin said “the only way to stop this behaviour happening is by having more women in senior posts,” as she encouraged women to stand for elected office whenever possible.

“I can’t imagine ever a woman in a public space in the centre of government scrolling through pornography on their phone, I just cannot imagine it,” she added.

“So I would say the way to tackle it is to get more women into those roles.

“And the more senior the better."

Ms Brabin went on: “But sexism and misogyny has been with us since time immemorial, that the only way to change it is to get more women in senior roles.”

A Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities spokesperson said: “The Secretary of State looks forward to visiting West Yorkshire and meeting with the Mayor as soon as possible.

“Our Levelling Up white paper sets out a long-term plan for spreading opportunity and reversing inequality by working across central and local government and the public and private sector.

“We are working closely with local leaders to regenerate the country’s towns and cities, boost people’s earnings and tackle local issues.”