Votes were cast on Thursday, but counting for the West Yorkshire mayor has begun today (Sunday).
Follow our live blog below for the results and reaction.
Live updates from West Yorkshire mayor election count
Last updated: Sunday, 09 May, 2021, 17:52
- Voters from across West Yorkshire elect the county’s first metro mayor - including from Leeds, Kirklees, Calderdale, Wakefield and Bradford
- Tracy Brabin, Labour expected to win
Who is Tracy Brabin, Labour frontrunner to be West Yorkshire metro mayor?
Ms Brabin was born in Batley, the town she would go onto represent as an MP, in 1961 and educated at Heckmondwike Grammar School.
Before entering politics she was an actress and television writer, appearing in several British soap operas including Coronation Street, EastEnders, Casualty and Emmerdale.
She showed an interest in politics before standing to become an MP, including being the lead member of a group of nine actors to write to The Observer explaining that while they continued to oppose the Blair government’s military intervention in Iraq, they still “strongly support the re-election of a Labour government”.
Following the murder of her friend Jo Cox, the MP for Batley & Spen, in 2016, Ms Brabin was selected by local Labour members as the party’s candidate to replace her. Most other parties did not stand candidates out of respect to Mrs Cox and she was duly elected in October 2016.
She is expected by many to be announced as West Yorkshire's first elected metro mayor on Sunday May 9, in one of the few Labour local election successes.
The seven West Yorkshire mayor candidates:
Tracy Brabin - Labour
Matt Robinson - Conservatives
Stewart Golton - Liberal Democrats
Andrew Cooper - Green Party
Bob Buxton - Yorkshire Party
Therese Hirst - English Democrats
Wajid Ali - Reform Party
Your guide to the West Yorkshire mayor elections
It will be the first time the region has ever had an elected mayor, and could give the region extra spending and decision-making powers.
But what does it all mean for you? Here’s a handy guide to everything to do with the new West Yorkshire Mayor!
West Yorkshire’s first ever mayoral election vote takes place on Thursday, May 6.
When will we have the results?
According to Leeds City Council, results are expected by this evening (Sunday, May 9).
What happens if Tracy Brabin does win?
If elected as metro mayor for West Yorkshire she will enjoy powers and resources similar to those of Greater Manchester’s Andy Burnham, Sheffield City Region’s Dan Jarvis and Tees Valley’s Ben Houchen.
The devolution deal signed by West Yorkshire’s five council leaders last March includes control of a £38m per year ‘gainshare’ fund for the next three decades as well as access to other funding streams previously held under lock and key by central government.
Within a few months of taking power the mayor will have control of the £63m adult education budget, meaning they can decide where to prioritise funding to help people aged 19 and over into jobs, an apprenticeship, traineeship, or other further learning.
Despite the rhetoric about empowering city regions to shape their own destinies, metro mayors have relatively few powers and levers to pull. To succeed they will need the backing of other local leaders, a good relationship with Whitehall and to feel the benefit of political winds blowing in the right direction.
Her election would leave Labour bosses with a headache as she is obliged to stand down as MP, triggering a by-election in her constituency of Batley & Spen.
What can the mayor do?
Functions will include housing and planning, as well as powers to put together a “spatial development strategy”. It also includes housing and land acquisition powers to support regeneration and infrastructure development.
The mayor will be allowed to set a precept on council tax to fund mayoral functions. This is an extra payment placed on top of regular council tax, such as is currently used for police, fire and parish councils.
An elected mayor also has the power to draw up a local transport plans and strategies, the power to request local regulations requiring large fuel retailers to provide electric vehicle charging points. This will give the mayor bus franchising powers.
Key points from the candidates’ campaign literature
Reform Party candidate Wajid Ali has committed to tackling crime and homelessness, resisting any future plans for a congestion charge and “returning all freedoms” back to people.
He said: “I want to reboot the local economy and will campaign for tax cuts for the lowest paid, a council tax freeze and lowered business rates to support and encourage small businesses.”
Among the promises from Labour Party candidate Tracy Brabin are commitments to creating 1,000 “well paid, skilled jobs for young people”, recruit 750 more police officers and bringing buses back under public control.
She said: “I’ll be a mayor that stands up for our communities and fights hard to make sure we get our fair share. I’ll step in where the government has failed and tackle the deep inequalities exposed by the pandemic.”
The Yorkshire Party’s Bob Buxton says he would build greener homes on regenerated sites, while focussing on “defeating crime”, career-led adult education and pushing for a referendum on greater devolution for Yorkshire.
He added: “If elected, I will fight to deliver a West Yorkshire mass transit system to make sure no community is left behind. Labour councils have failed to deliver and the Tory government continues to make empty promises.
Green Party candidate Andrew Cooper said committed to green refurbishments for existing houses, redeveloping brownfield sites, new apprenticeships for green jobs and more “community-led policing”.
He added: “A green mayor will make our town centres more appealing places to spend time – not just places to go shopping. I want to see sporting facilities improved and we will support our vital creative industries.”
Liberal Democrat candidate Stewart Golton committed to having plans for “every high street”, as well as delivering training and skills for green jobs in construction, energy, farming and forestry.
He added: “We can’t afford to end up with a mayor that makes excuses for the poor performance of their mates in charge of parliament or local town halls. We need a strong champion that will push for real devolution.”
English Democrats candidate Therese Hirst committed in her literature to raising adult educational standards, building “person-centred” housing to help people’s mental and physical wellbeing, and “visible, impartial and apolitical policing”.
She added: “Choosing the right candidate who has the right skills and vision to address the enormous social and economic challenges we now face, particularly since the Covid-19 pandemic, is now more important than ever.”
Conservative candidate Matt Robinson has committed to creating apprenticeships with employers, more police with “extra powers and equipment like tasers”, and a more efficient public transport service.
He added: “It’s time to join up our public transport, so you can get a seat on a bus or train that runs on time. I’ll cut congestion for drivers, holding councils to account and getting extra government funds for roads.”
How does the counting work?
Each of the five council areas in which the new West Yorkshire mayor will cover will be counting its own votes.
The winner will be announced at Leeds’ First Direct Arena where all the results will be sent to.