Doncaster leaders would lobby for South Yorkshire Mayor supporting borough's Yorkshire-wide plans

Doncaster's political leadership will press for a South Yorkshire mayoral candidate who will back the borough leaving to join a single Yorkshire.

Thursday, 25th January 2018, 4:52 pm
Updated Thursday, 25th January 2018, 5:00 pm
Mayor of Doncaster Ros Jones

Mayor Ros Jones still does not support holding an election for the post in charge of a Sheffield City Region and has ruled herself out of standing for the job.

But if the election does happen in May, which ministers have said will happen, she will lobby for candidates who are sympathetic to opening the door for Doncaster and Barnsley to leave to join a wider Yorkshire region in 2020.

Mrs Jones said: "Negotiations are still ongoing with the Government, and we're delighted to see the movement we have seen so far.

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"It will be down to the Government as to if we spend public money on a election that could be avoided by putting in an interim arrangement.

"My position is I want to drive forward the best deal for the people of Doncaster."

She said if an election does take place, the borough's political leaders lobby for a candidate who would respect the views of the people of Doncaster to set up the widest possible Yorkshire deal, after a poll showed around 80 per cent support for that plan from voters.

It is understood that any Labour candidate for a South Yorkshire mayor would be selected by the grass roots Labour membership across South Yorkshire on a one member one vote basis. It would be organised by the Yorkshire regional Labour Party.

Doncaster alone would not make the decision on candidates.

Other parties are also expected to field candidates if the election goes ahead as the Government has said, and there may also be independents.

Mrs Jones' comments come as Wakefield City Council leader Peter Box confirmed he would now support a joint Yorkshire deal.

Wakefield's backing would mean that only Sheffield and Rotherham would be outside the Yorkshire-wide devolved region.

In December communities secretary Sajid Javid said if Barnsley and Doncaster agreed the South Yorkshire deal they could leave in 2022 if all the councils in the rest of Yorkshire agreed.

But there have been no talks between ministers and the South Yorkshire leaders since the people of Doncaster and Barnsley rejected the South Yorkshire devolution deal in a referendum, instead voting for the Yorkshire-wide arrangement.

Mrs Jones and Barnsley leader Sir Steve Houghton want to leave in 2020, and Sheffield Council leader Julie Dore has suggested a two year South Yorkshire mayoral term as a compromise.