'I'm the man for the job' says Dan Jarvis in Sheffield City Region mayoral race

Dan Jarvis
Dan Jarvis
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Dan Jarvis says he is the man for the job - he has enough political clout to bring together four authorities into a unified region.

Not an easy task, considering that two of the four areas set for inclusion in the newly-created Sheffield City Region - Doncaster and Barnsley - appear opposed to it.
Instead, leaders of these authorities are pushing for a Yorkshire-wide devolution deal - One Yorkshire - which is also backed by the other 16 local authorities in the region.
Only Sheffield and Rotherham, it would seem, stand firm behind the Sheffield City Region.
“This is the deal that is on the table,” says Mr Jarvis, as we chat in the staffroom at the Sheffield Star. “And I think I’m the candidate that has enough clout to bring all four authorities together.
“The Sheffield City Region deal is the one that we have to make work - we have got to maximise the benefits of that investment, but we can only do it if we can achieve consensus.
“But we need to reach that consensus, and I feel that I’m the best person to draw the regions together, so ultimately we can take this to national government and draw down the devolved powers and the money to benefit the people here in South Yorkshire.”
The Barnsley Central MP, who was once mooted as a potential Labour Party leader - before the Corbyn bandwagon took hold - has had a tempestuous ride to his current position as ‘odds on favourite’ to be the Sheffield City Region’s first directly elected mayor.
A last-minute spanner in the works came from Labout HQ which, in the eleventh hour, introduced a new ruling that MPs should not hold two elected roles simultaneously - leaving the former Paras officer with an awkward dilemma: resign from Parliament or withdraw from the mayoral race.
A tense few days followed, ultimately leading to the party’s National Executive backing down.
But the spat did leave a pressing question - how can an elected MP combine his duties and responsibilities to the people of Barnsley with the wider brief of Sheffield Regional Mayor?
In terms of time alone, holding both positions would make Mr Jarvis an extremely busy man. But he has also, I put to him, gone on the record stating that he intends to balance both roles, only drawing his parliamentary salary.
“I’m also on the record stating that, if elected mayor, I will remain as Barnsley Central MP until the end of this parliament,” he retorts.
“I made a commitment to the people of Barnsley and I am a man of my word. I also think that parliament has an important role to play in this process. I want to do the best job I can and I feel this would be undermined if I left parliament at this point.
“Also, if you look at Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband, they both served as constituency MPs and had very big jobs with huge responsibilities.”
The key, he says, will be to have the right team behind him, to support him, so, as Sheffield City Regional Mayor, he can present “a credible national voice.”
“We need someone who has the leverage and credibility on the national stage to get us to the point where we have the devolved powers and money drawn down,” he says.
“Primarily the role needs to be about economic development. Securing investment and ensuring the skills base in the region is in place.
“But it’s also about transport and infrastructure. It’s currently too difficult and too expensive to get around in South Yorkshire. We need to be able to move people around more freely than we currently do.
“I think the role is also about the power to convene - to bring people together. We need to look across the region at how we work, at what we do well and at what we do less well. We need to draw the four local authorities together to improve the services we offer to the public as a whole.
“But nothing will happen unless we can get the four local authorities on board, and I think I’m best placed to bring those four councils together.”