The Labour candidate for the position of Liverpool City Region’s first elected Mayor, Steve Rotheram MP, promised a pragmatic approach in his negotiations with the Conservative led Westminster Government if, as expected, he becomes the Regional Mayor in May.
Addressing one hundred business leaders at an event hosted by Downtown Liverpool in Business at the Hilton Hotel on Friday afternoon, Mr Rotheram said:
‘I acknowledge the work Lord Heseltine did in helping to regenerate the Albert Dock. I have worked closely with Prime Minister Teresa May during her time as the Home Secretary, particularly on the issue of Hillsborough. Although I have fundamental differences with the policies the Conservative Government is pursuing, I understand to get the best deal for this city region I will have to adopt a pragmatic approach and have as positive a relationship with the Tories as I can in future years.’
In a wide-ranging interview with Downtown Chief Executive Frank McKenna, Mr Rotheram also confirmed that he would be re-regulating the buses; prioritising the skills, training, and education agenda; encouraging a ‘one-stop-shop’ for inward investment enquiries; and establishing a working group, that would include private sector input, to help draw up an economic development strategy for the region.
The mayoral candidate and Walton MP also said that Liverpool and its Northern Powerhouse partners must have a seat at the table of the Brexit negotiations. He added that he was looking forward to working closely with his close friend, Labour’s Manchester mayoral candidate Andy Burnham, to forge greater collaboration between the two northwest cities.
Following the event, Downtown’s political commentator Jim Hancock commented:
‘It was a very confident performance from Labour’s man. Clearly, he is determined to accelerate the city region’s economic progress and he has a determination to make the local authority partners from across the region to work in a more cohesive and collaborative fashion. Many in the business community will hope he can do that. For too long, Liverpool and its neighbouring boroughs have been held back because of parochial politics an inability to work together.’