These are the seven candidates to be West Yorkshire's metro mayor and why they want your vote

On May the people of West Yorkshire go to the polls to choose the county's first directly elected metro mayor.

By Rob Parsons
Monday, 5th April 2021, 5:45 am
Updated Monday, 5th April 2021, 11:52 am

The post was created after a devolution deal was signed between West Yorkshire leaders and Chancellor Rishi Sunak last year. The Yorkshire Post asked all the candidates who have publicly declared themselves to set out their priorities.

Therese Hirst, representing the English Democrats, is also standing to be West Yorkshire mayor. The Yorkshire Post has approached her to set out her priorities.

Tracy Brabin, Labour

The mayoral candidates in West Yorkshire will hope to boost the economic fortunes of places like Wakefield, pictured in 2019.

During the pandemic, Labour stepped in where the government failed – keeping people safe, delivering test and trace, providing PPE, rolling out vaccinations and feeding school children when the Conservatives refused.

As mayor, I will build on that and lead our recovery.

We cannot go back to business as usual. The pandemic has laid bare stark inequalities in West Yorkshire - on health, on employment, on access to education. The poorest have been the hardest hit and the most exposed.

Delivering that recovery and closing those divides requires ambition.

Nowhere is the Conservatives’ lack of ambition for West Yorkshire brought into sharper focus than on transport. They over-promise and under-deliver. They’ve made a mess of public transport and have no plan to fix it. Major rail projects are promised but never delivered while funding is repeatedly cut.

I will bring buses back under public control, simplify fares and fight for smart ticketing. I will stand up for West Yorkshire, fight for investment in rail and get West Yorkshire moving again.

But the mayor’s ambition must stretch beyond transport.

I want to create 1000 well paid, skilled jobs for young people and prioritise skills and training so we make sure everyone is equipped to get good jobs. Working people and local businesses have borne the brunt of the Chancellor’s neglect. I will be a champion for them.

I will recruit 750 more police officers and staff. I will back the police, fight crime and support victims. And I will put keeping women and girls safe at the heart of my policing plan.

I want to see new, sustainable homes - including thousands more council houses and affordable homes.

One area where we can never be over ambitious is on tackling the climate emergency, safeguarding our environment and protecting local communities from flooding and the consequences of climate change. I will lead that battle.

I am proud of where I grew up and I am determined that we do not go back to business as usual. We must be ambitious and we must seize this opportunity.

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Creation of West Yorkshire mayor creates chance to develop integrated transport ...

Matt Robinson - Conservative

On Thursday, May 6, you’ll be electing a new Mayor, with new powers, to deliver for West Yorkshire.

As Mayor, I would create a vibrant economy with decent local jobs, new apprenticeships, work closely with employers and universities and set up new opportunity areas to improve the life

chances of people.

I’d bang the drum for local businesses based here, encouraging more to move here and I’ll secure extra investment to regenerate our towns and cities. And I’d do all this without

imposing new taxes because we know people have struggled enough through the pandemic.

The Mayor will be responsible for policing and that’s why I’m committed to delivering more police with extra powers and equipment like tasers so we can get tough on crime. I’ll get more police officers on the beat to protect the vulnerable, address violent crime, keep our homes safe, tackle anti-social behaviour and improve town and rural policing.

We need to rethink transport for our region to get West Yorkshire moving. That means a public transport system that’s clean, green and on time. We need a plan to cut traffic without the need for a congestion charge that would hit the lowest earners hardest.

We need to make progress on a new mass transit system and have integrated ticketing and travel so it is easier and greener to get from A to B.

I want West Yorkshire to be a land of innovation and opportunity for everyone. We won’t do that by playing politics but rather through hard work, experience of local government and working with our partners nationally and locally.

If I am elected on May 6, I promise to work tirelessly to ensure we bounce back better and stronger from this pandemic and improve the lives of everyone in wonderful West Yorkshire.

Bob Buxton - Yorkshire Party

I live in Rawdon with my wife and kids and teach Engineering apprentices in Bradford.

I have a PhD in Engineering, experience in traffic flow modelling, devised a foundation degree in Green Energy and recently trained in first aid and mental health.

I’ll use my experience to deliver retraining and job opportunities, greener homes and better transport.

I’ve worked with industry leaders to develop adult education courses in engineering, health science and green energy. Let’s fund the development of new courses and the start-up costs of new training centres, across a range of career choices.

New housing should utilise ex-industrial sites (not greenbelt!) and have subsidies for solar panels and insulation. We need greener starter homes, social housing and retirement homes, developed alongside new infrastructure – GPs, dentists, transport and schools.

I pledge to fight for a West Yorkshire mass transit system. Labour councils have failed to deliver and the Tory Government continue to cancel transport projects.

I’ll work with transport providers to allow bus passes usage in rush hour (which London has already), reduce fares with smarter contactless payment across all bus and rail, develop more parkway stations, cut pollution with electric buses and reduce transport and parking costs for our underpaid health and social care workers. We also need better-planned cycleways and safer walking routes to school.

I’ll select Dan Woodlock as Deputy Mayor for Police and Crime. Dan’s qualified in criminology and has worked with the British Transport Police. We’ll make our streets safer with more frontline police and by tackling uninsured, speeding and drunk drivers.

Let’s end red light zone to make families safer and prioritise communities, not prostitution.

I’ll keep fighting for more powerful devolution. The mayor’s budget is just £16 per person each year, with no powers on health or children’s education. Yorkshire deserves better!

Stewart Golton, Liberal Democrats

Our experience of Covid on top of the Climate Change Emergency calls for a complete refocus around the areas of transport, housing and economic development and adult education that the Mayor has responsibility for.

I will use my 20 years experience in local government to work with councillors and communities to develop '15 minute neighbourhoods' to revive our town, district and village centres to harness the potential of homeworking to rebalance economic growth in our region.

I will end public transport spending that allows private bus companies to increase their profits, whilst doing little to address unreliability and rising prices for passengers. Let's get more investment in local bus routes, and safer walking and cycling in our neighbourhoods instead of the obsession with city centre prestige projects.

HS2 is an overpriced white elephant, and I will not accept that our region should wait for the delivery of HS2 before we can benefit from better local rail services. I will work to get more carriages and greater frequency on our routes, and deliver the transpennine connectivity we deserve through Northern Powerhouse Rail.

If we are to tackle the Climate Change Emergency, we need to grow green jobs for the future. The West Yorkshire rural economy has been overlooked for too long. Let's get more of our food grown locally, help farmers generate more renewable energy, increase our tree cover, and develop local leisure tourism.

Let's get more zero carbon housing built by local building companies developing homes that people can afford. The care of our vulnerable and elderly cannot be left to big corporate players, and I hope to develop a quantum growth in small and micro enterprises in community care.

Adult education providers must be prepared for the retraining of adults without work, and to deliver qualifications in the green growth economy areas such as arboriculture, renewable energy, and construction.

On Crime, my overriding priority will be to try and insulate as many young people as possible from our region from being sucked into the criminal justice system in the first place. Rebuilding the delivery of community policing, and tackling adult neighbourhood anti social behaviour are key to nurturing supportive homes within a safe community environment, and my oversight of West Yorkshire Police will focus on that.

Andrew Cooper, Green

There are homes across West Yorkshire standing empty when they could be warm, green places to live. I will introduce a Green Building Fund to ensure all public sector and social housing projects are built to the highest energy efficiency standards.

West Yorkshire is one of the most congested places in the country. We will put an end to new road building and widening schemes and invest in green transport to tackle the air pollution problem that affects us all. We will invest in public transport to make it comfortable, reliable and affordable. And we will provide better infrastructure for safe walking and cycling.

Green jobs will be vital in the post-pandemic society. Investment in green transport and housing will provide a massive increase in job opportunities.

People across West Yorkshire must have more say in the policing priorities in their area and we will make sure our police force better represents all our communities across West Yorkshire. I believe voters deserve to know who will take on the role of Deputy Mayor in charge of policing before election day. I will ask Hawarun Hussain – a former Deputy Lord Mayor of Bradford to take on this role and bring her experience to the role.

The worst of all possible worlds is a Labour Mayor talking to Labour Council Leaders working to their agendas. Similarly a Conservative Mayor doing the bidding of national Government doesn’t fill me with a sense of a Mayor providing a worthwhile and distinctive role.

A Green Mayor would have the power to introduce policies that could transform our county and provide a green future for West Yorkshire.

I will not accept the Mayor’s salary of £105k but instead will take £26k, the average West Yorkshire wage, the remainder going to good causes across West Yorkshire.

Wajid Ali, Reform UK

Reform UK strongly believes in “common sense”, returning all freedoms back to the people and stopping wasteful spend of public money, with transparency and accountability. We are the only party which will hold central government and local authorities to account.

If elected Mayor, our police will get back to basics and catch criminals, not sat at desks completing administrative duties and tireless paperwork.

Restoring the public’s faith in our police, whilst also maintaining the trust, integrity and confidence within our region. Our police will be working on the beat within communities with the recruitment of more officers.

We are certainly for “clean air”. Enhancing the air quality of our Yorkshire roads will also improve the health, wellbeing and lifestyle of the Yorkshire people and visitors to this great region.

Further investment in greener “zero-emissions” public transport and fairer use of public bus lanes, greater access for greener vehicles, reducing journey times and improving the overall air quality.

Protection of our Greenbelt land in the region for all to enjoy and boosting local tourism. Reducing and tackling homelessness in the region. Nobody should go without the basics in life, food, water and shelter, with the aim of bringing this down to zero during my term.

Also supporting victims of domestic abuse, providing all the necessary support to make (West) Yorkshire a safe place for everyone. Both these issues will be further supported by a 2 year 50% salary pledge and additional funding from local charities.

Post Covid we need a vision for the region that delivers well paid jobs and prosperity for the North. We want businesses to open as soon as possible and resume service to get back to where we once were.

West Yorkshire businesses are at the heart of the Yorkshire economy, the Powerhouse of Yorkshire. Our strategy is “low tax, simple tax resulting in higher growth”.