West Yorkshire mayor Tracy Brabin channels hit musical Hamilton as she tells government she wants to be in the 'room where it happens'

Yorkshire's newest metro mayor has claimed she does not have the same access to Ministers as her Tory counterpart in the Tees Valley as she urged the Government to let local leaders help deliver on their levelling up promises.

West Yorkshire's Tracy Brabin quoted from the hit musical Hamilton as she told a Westminster committee she needed to be in the 'room where it happens' when decisions are made with central government.

The former Labour MP was responding to Ben Houchen, the Conservative mayor for the Tees Valley, who told the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee he had a good relationship with central government but would like to strengthen his links with Rishi Sunak's Treasury department.

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Mayor of West Yorkshire Tracy Brabin outside Dewsbury market in Kirklees. Photo credit should read: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

Mr Houchen, who was unexpectedly elected in 2017 in a former Labour stronghold, was voted back in this year with a massive majority, is often cited by the Government as an example of the success of metro mayors.

In her evidence, Ms Brabin, who became metro mayor seven weeks ago, said she would like to end the patchwork of different powers held by regional leaders across the country.

She has powers over policing which many mayors do not have but unlike Greater Manchester metro mayor Andy Burnham does not have control over health and social care spending.

She told the committee: "I would slightly just question the relationship with the centre. I'm not sure I have that same relationship Ben does with the centre.

"I'm obviously new and building those relationships, but it would be great to have more access to be more involved in those conversations, and for that old Hamilton musical adage, you've got to be in the room where it happens.

"And sometimes, over the last few weeks it does feel like I'm not in that room and it would be great to have a more open conversation with the centre. To be fair the mayors and I want to deliver on my 10 pledges and all of those are attached to levelling up, I want to help government deliver on their manifesto pledge on levelling up.

"But we can work with government, certainly I'm very up for learning from all mayors across the region, about how we go forward and how they navigate this complexity, and also combining our powers, across the region, whether that's the M62 mayors with Andy Burnham and Steve Rotheram, or whether that's Dan Jarvis is in the south we want to make the offer from Yorkshire as cohesive as possible."

Mr Houchen, whose achievements since becoming mayor include taking Teesside International Airport and the former SSI Steelworks site under public control, said he believed mayors had better access to central government than many thought.

He said the reason many combined authorities had not yet got major investment from government is that their plans were yet well enough developed to get approval from Ministers.

"The Room Where It Happens" is a song from Act 2 of the musical Hamilton, based on the life of US Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, which premiered on Broadway in 2015.

The song relates the story of the Compromise of 1790, between Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson with James Madison where Hamilton won the decision for the national government to take over and pay the state debts, and Jefferson and Madison obtained the District of Columbia for the South.