EXCL Labour MP Dan Jarvis: Why I want to be mayor of South Yorkshire

Posted On: 
29th January 2018

Dan Jarvis will run to be the first mayor of South Yorkshire, PoliticsHome can reveal.

The former Army major, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, was tipped by many as a future leader when he was first elected in 2011
PA Images

The Labour MP spent the weekend making up his mind about whether to throw his hat into the ring.

He has decided to do so after winning “the strong backing of council leaders, MPs, councillors, trade unions, businesses, Labour members and the general public”.

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PoliticsHome revealed on Friday how the Barnsley Central MP was pondering running to be mayor of the newly-created Sheffield City Region.

As well as Sheffield itself, the holder of the post will also be in charge of devolution in Barnsley, Rotherham and Doncaster.

Former Army major Mr Jarvis, who has been an MP since 2011, said: “This is a crucial moment for South Yorkshire and the wider Yorkshire and Humber region and I want to play my full part in leading us forward.

“Our soon to be elected Sheffield City Region Mayor will be key to unlocking the investment that our region needs: our transport, broadband, education and training systems are not fit for the challenges of the 21st century.

“Investment in our housing and the environment lags behind what we need. All must be delivery priorities for the new Mayor.”

Mr Jarvis has said he will not immediately quit as an MP if elected on 3 May, but instead campaign for his powers to be extended across the whole of Yorkshire.

If that were to happen, he would then stand down from Westminster.

He said whoever becomes mayor must “contribute to a longer process for a wider devolution deal for Yorkshire and the Humber, because the election of a mayor in South Yorkshire is not the end of our devolution story, it is the beginning”.

The former Labour frontbencher added: “The Sheffield City Region Mayoralty does not yet come with agreement on what powers are being delegated to it.

“We are on course to elect a mayor with no powers and no resources. The new mayor will need to leverage maximum influence to reach a consensus on how to proceed and drive our region forward.”

If Mr Jarvis were to eventually stand down as an MP in his bid to become mayor of Yorkshire, he would be following in the footsteps of Andy Burnham and Steve Rotheram, both of whom did the same thing to run in Manchester and Liverpool respectively.

It would also mark the departure of another high-profile moderate from the parliamentary Labour party.

Tristram Hunt quit to become director of the Victoria and Albert Museum, Michael Dugher stood down at the election to become chief executive of UK Music, and Jamie Reed resigned his seat at the end of 2016 and now works for Sellafield power station.

The former Army major, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, was tipped by many as a future leader when he was first elected in 2011.

He served on Ed Miliband's front bench as a shadow minister, but has fallen out of favour under Jeremy Corbyn's leadership.

Mr Jarvis will be up against former Labour minister Richard Caborn, who was Sheffield Central MP from 1983 until 2010, and Labour councillor Ben Currans.

Labour’s candidate will be announced on 23 March.