Transport in York could be a key issue. Credit: City of York Council

Six bid to be first elected mayor

The people of York and North Yorkshire go to the polls on Thursday 2 May to choose the inaugural head of the incoming combined authority.

Elected mayors effectively come as part of the deal with central government for a devolution deal, giving more power over areas such as transport and regeneration to different areas of the country.

York and North Yorkshire’s deal was agreed in 2022.

South Yorkshire and West Yorkshire already have mayors in place, who both face re-election in May, while Hull & East Yorkshire’s devolution deal is still in the pipeline.

With nominations now closed, six candidates are in the race. These are:

  • Felicity Cunliffe-Lister, Liberal Democrats
  • Keane Duncan – Conservative
  • Kevin Foster – Green Party
  • Paul Haslam – Independent
  • David Skaith – Labour & Co-operative
  • Keith Tordoff – Independent

The role of police & crime commissioner will be merged with the mayoral role, with a deputy chosen to perform the day-to-day aspects of the role.

Cunliffe-Lister has represented the Masham & Fountains division of North Yorkshire Council since a February 2023 by-election. A school governor, she and her husband built up the Swinton Park hotel and estate into a successful business.

One of Duncan’s key pledges is “half-price homes” linked with a promise to build 900 brownfield homes inside two years. He also talks of a fairer deal for farmers and fishing, and kaking streets safer.

An experienced councillor from Colburn near Richmond, Foster is running on a ticket of building a circular economy, and providing improvements in housing and transport, with an emphasis on energy and insultation for housing – he backs the York Central development.

Standing as an independent, business transformation consultant Haslan is the ‘member champion for climate change’ in North Yorkshire Council, on which he has represented Bilton and Nidd Gorge for 10 years. Affordable homes, transport and food security are on his agenda.

Labour candidate Skaith, chair of the York High Street Forum, said he will be a “value for money mayor” and tops his list of pledges with delivering a cost of living recovery plan. Fighting for access to GPs and dental appointments and tackling crime is also high on the list.

A former police officer and businessman, Tordoff previously stood as an independent in the 2021 police commissioner vote. Improving connectivity for rural communities is high on his list of pledges.

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