Dan Jarvis, the newly elected Sheffield City Region mayor, will aim to ‘bring a consensus’ and unite the four South Yorkshire council leaders on their differences on devolution from ‘day one’ in his new role.
Mr Jarvis, who will stay on as Barnsley Central MP until the next general election, had to go through the second round of voting to secure the win.
The former Paratrooper will have a big job on his hands as currently, there is no money and no real power to the post. He said his first job will be to get the four council leaders around a table to thrash out a way forward.
The Labour candidate revealed the conversation between the four leaders has ‘already started’.
His task now will be to draw down the devolved powers and money from central Government - transport, the economy and skills are the ‘main priority’ he said.
Leaders of Sheffield, Doncaster, Rotherham and Barnsley signed up to the Sheffield City Region devolution deal with the then Chancellor, George Osborne.
But Barnsley and Doncaster announced in 2017 they were now against a city region deal citing changes in circumstances and signed a pledge with 16 other councils across Yorkshire to support a county wide proposal.
Mr Jarvis, who has made no secret of his support for ‘one Yorkshire’ devolution plan, is aiming reach a solution to the problem by 2020 but adding ‘South Yorkshire is the priority at the moment’.
The Labour MP secured 144,154 votes after second preference votes were counted across the region.
Conservative candidate Ian Walker came second with 50,619 votes.
Speaking after the announcement, he said: “I feel delighted, I feel as if a lot people have placed their trust in me and I’m determined to repay that faith and trust.
“The big challenge is working together with the four local authorities and reach a consensus. I can see a way to do that, I see a way in which we bring them together and take that consensus to Government that’s the challenge that lies with me.
“My main priority is how we can take South Yorkshire forward, it’s in our best interests to reach an agreement, I think we can do that.
“If we don’t have that agreement, we won’t be able to make the most of the opportunities devolution offers - there are money and powers available for us to start using here in South Yorkshire but only if we reach an agreement of how we’re going to do that.
“The clock is ticking, the pressure will be on me.”
Asked how he could start a conversation with the leaders of Sheffield and Rotherham about the prospect of a county-wide deal, Mr Jarvis said: “I have a huge amount of time and respect for both of those leaders - I think what they’ve said is not that unreasonable.
“They’ve wanted to get this deal agreed in the first place and then look very carefully detail of any subsequent deal.
“I think for them, they’ll have to make a judgement about what’s in the best interest of the areas that they represent and I think it’s for all of us who believe in a wider Yorkshire deal to articulate the benefits to them.”
Mr Jarvis assured his responsibility to the constituents of Barnsley Central despite juggling two roles and added he was ‘humbled’ by the town’s backing in this vote