SDP select Barnsley veteran David Bettney as candidate for South Yorkshire mayor

The Social Democratic Party (SDP) has unveiled their candidate for the upcoming South Yorkshire mayoral election.

South Yorkshire-born, former soldier and entrepreneur David Bettney will be the SDP candidate on the ballot paper as people head to the polls to elect a new mayor on May 5.

Bettney said his party is determined to rebuild Britain’s industrial and manufacturing base. His candidacy has received the formal endorsement of Reform UK, formerly the Brexit Party — in the first collaboration for both parties.

The SDP candidate was born in South Yorkshire and brought up on a council estate in Barnsley. He served in the Army for 22 years, which included tours in Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan, rising through the ranks to eventually become a Regimental Sergeant Major in the Light Dragoons.

David Bettney (centre) is running as the Social Democratic Party (SDP) candidate in the upcoming South Yorkshire mayoral election

Since leaving the Army, over a decade ago, he has become a serial entrepreneur in the oil and gas industry, having built several construction, logistics and storage companies in the Middle East.

The SDP today – which continued following the Liberal Party/SDP merger in 1988 – is classed as an ‘economically left-leaning patriotic party’ with eurosceptic views.

William Clouston, leader of the SDP said: “Voters in South Yorkshire have the opportunity to elect David Bettney as mayor – a candidate who not only shares their values but offers an economic plan which serves their interests.

“We are also delighted that his candidacy for South Yorkshire mayor has received the formal endorsement of Reform UK, formerly The Brexit Party and I thank leader, Richard Tice, for his kind offer of support in this campaign.

“While our economic policies may differ, the SDP shares Reform UK’s commitment to political renewal, fair voting and to a Britain which governs itself.”

Current Labour mayor Dan Jarvis is standing down and will not contest the upcoming election. He is staying on as MP for Barnsley Central.

He was elected back in 2018 with Conservative candidate Ian Walker coming in second place.

Mayor Jarvis was elected in the second perference voting round.

Other candidates running for South Yorkshire mayor include:

Simon Biltcliffe – Yorkshire Party

Oliver Coppard – Labour

Joe Otten – Liberal Democrats

Clive Watkinson – Conservative

Bex Whyman – Green Party