Dan Jarvis: ‘They said One Yorkshire couldn’t happen but now it’s within reach’
The Barnsley Central MP is shortlisted for Sheffield city region mayor but is eyeing a more ambitious regional goal
While Dan Jarvis doesn’t have much in common with pro-Brexit campaigners, they do have one similarity. The Labour MP for Barnsley Central has thrown himself behind a cause that is not being taken seriously in Westminster but which he believes is within touching distance.
Calls for devolution of power from central government to the historic county of Yorkshire, creating a combined authority of 5.3 million people and “the most significant entity outside of London” have, he says, routinely been snorted at and disparaged. But the One Yorkshire proposals now have the backing of 18 of Yorkshire’s 20 local authorities, the Confederation of British Industry, the Federation of Small Businesses, the Institute of Directors and the TUC.
“There has been this attitude among many establishment figures that it was never going to happen. ‘You’re wasting your time’, ‘We will never draw Yorkshire and the Humber together’,” he says. “Well, they’re not saying that now.”
Last Thursday Jarvis – a former army major who was once tipped for Labour leader – was shortlisted to be the party’s mayoral candidate for Sheffield city region. Voting among party members for a candidate in the May election starts on Friday, and the result will be announced on 23 March.