Jonathan Carr-West, Chief Executive, LGIU said:
“One feature of these elections that may seem most significant in the long run is the political coming of age of the metro mayors.
When these roles were created by George Osborne as the price of devolution in 2015 there seemed little demand for them. Most of these cities had voted against having an elected mayor in referenda less than a decade before.
Yet many of the incumbents have created a distinct political brand for themselves; often with little reference to their national political party. Andy Burnham has promoted a distinctive political identity for Manchester, Ben Houchen a form of pragmatic Teesside Toryism and Andy Street a managerial brand of retail (forgive the pun) politics.
Both parties will find something to celebrate in the mayoral elections. The Conservatives will be delighted by Ben Houchen’s huge win and by Andy Street increasing his vote share. For Labour, resounding wins for Steve Rotherham in Liverpool and Andy Burnham in Manchester will be a relief and gaining the West of England will be a bright spot in an otherwise gloomy set of results.
But the truth is these results don’t have much to do with national politics. They’re about local leadership, local identity, civic pride and representation; they’re about delivery politics from the ground up. The creation of metro mayors has been one of the big structural and constitutional innovations in this country over the last ten years. Central government’s attitude toward them has been ambiguous at times. On the evidence of these results, though, they are very much here to stay.”