Metro mayors’ mission is clear

By Dr Arianna Giovannini | 26 May 2021

On 6 May metro mayors were elected in seven combined authorities. Since their establishment, much has been said about these new political figures and their ability to deliver the ‘devolution revolution’ that was heralded by George Osborne as chancellor in 2014. The results of these elections offer an opportunity to reflect on metro mayors’ first term in office, and devolution more broadly.

In the aftermath of their first election in 2017, metro mayors were criticised for lacking support from local communities. Established without any form of public consultations, the lukewarm level of turnout at this first electoral round (as low as 21% in Tees Valley) suggested that their democratic mandate was weak and that a programme of devolution spearheaded by leaders with modest support, few powers and limited resources would struggle to take root.

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