May to scrap local mayor push, Times reports

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

Former Chancellor George Osborne led campaigns for metropolitan mayors, believing in them to install more democratic accountability as groups of local authorities took over more powers from Whitehall.

However, The Times has reported that future devolution deals may not be contingent on the local authorities agreeing to the new mayoralties.

It is understood that the force behind the policy change is an attempt to withhold Labour from using them as a platform within which to revive its position in its heartlands. Andy Turnham, the former shadow home secretary, is an example of this, and will hope to be elected in Manchester next May.

However, Whitehall has denied the claims, saying that devolution would ‘continue in the usual way’ and that elected mayors ‘remain the best way to make [deals] work’.

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