Devolution: Theresa May eyes end to George Osborne's mayor drive

UK's new prime minister is said to be considering lifting the requirement for local authorities to have elected mayors to get devolution deals

By Josh May

22 Aug 2016

Theresa May is preparing to lift the requirement on city regions to have directly-elected mayors in order to be granted devolution deals from the government, it has been reported.

George Osborne was one of the leading advocates of metropolitan mayors to give more democratic accountability as groups of local authorities took over more powers from Whitehall.

Elections for the mayoralties of Greater Manchester, Liverpool and the West Midlands are due to go ahead next May.

Special report: As devolution gathers pace, is Whitehall really ready to let go?
Civil service "massively underestimates" local government talent – council chief
Whitehall urged to ditch "contempt" for local government – or risk "overload"

But The Times reports that future devolution deals may not be contingent on the local authorities agreeing to the new mayoralties.

“There is a debate now going on in No 10 about whether to drop the need for them or not,” a source told the newspaper.

“The case for dropping it is because it has caused huge angst in some parts of the country.

“In Greater Manchester there is neat geography but in other parts the problem is you are cutting councils in half like Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and Hampshire and that is a big challenge to agree to a mayor.”

Another source said that the prospect of helping the Labour party could be a factor in the policy.

“One issue is that although the Labour party is in meltdown [mayors] do allow the acceptable face of the party a safe haven and a platform for the next few years,” they said.

Read the most recent articles written by Josh May - Think tank calls for new cross-departmental drive to boost social mobility

Share this page