Tracy Brabin says her priority as the first-ever Mayor of West Yorkshire is to bring buses back under public control.
Ms Brabin, voted in as the first woman metro mayor on her 60th birthday, spoke of her “historic” election and said it would be an “enormous privilege” to serve West Yorkshire.
After four years as the Labour MP for Batley & Spen, the former TV soap actor must quit Parliament. As metro mayor Ms Brabin also takes on the role of West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner which means she can no longer serve as an MP.
Speaking after her election on Sunday, Ms Brabin said: “One of my priorities is to bring buses back into public control, and we must have a joined up approach to our transport system.
“If it’s good enough for London, it’s good enough for us.”
Ms Brabin, who grew up in a council flat in Birstall, said there had been a “decade of under-funding” in West Yorkshire and she wanted to help redress the balance.
She will have a budget of £38 million a year and Ms Brabin added: “The mayor will be able to leverage money not just nationally but internationally and unlock more resources.”
Ms Brabin has also promised 750 more police officers and support staff for West Yorkshire and also wants to see 5,000 new homes including “genuinely affordable” housing.
“We need decent, good homes in the right places,” she said. “It’s so important to have a home where you feel safe.”
Ms Brabin said she wouldn’t just be a mayor for the big cities and added: “It’s not always just about the cities, it’s about making sure our towns and villages get the chance to flourish too.
“Covid has shown us the differential between communities whether that’s health or income and the mayor can help close that gap. I want to ensure everyone has the opportunity to be the best person they can be.
“I want a creative recovery. It’s going to be an exciting few months ahead.”
For the record:
Ms Brabin secured victory over second-placed Matt Robinson (Conservative) by 310,923 votes to 209,137 votes, after the counting of both first and second preference votes.
The total number of first preference votes cast for each candidate was:
- Tracy Brabin (Labour) – 261,170
- Matt Robinson (Conservative) – 176,167
- Bob Buxton (Yorkshire Party) – 58,851
- Andrew Cooper (Green) – 55,833
- Stewart Golton (Lib Dem) – 30,162
- Waj Ali (Reform UK) – 14,943
- Thérèse Hirst (English Democrats – “Putting England First!”) – 8,969
The Mayor of West Yorkshire will have a similar role to the mayors of Greater Manchester, Liverpool City Region and other regions in England that have secured devolution deals.
With special responsibility for areas such as transport, housing and finance, the mayor will work alongside the leaders of the councils in Kirklees, Bradford, Calderdale, Leeds and Wakefield to help make the county an even better place to live.