The election for the first mayor of the East Midlands could take place in May 2024
The first election to appoint a new mayor for the East Midlands could take place in May 2024.
This is on the condition that all discussions and negotiations between the leaders of Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, Derby, Derbyshire and the government reach agreement on a proposed devolution deal.
Council documents confirm that the government expects the first election to take place in just under two years, with the role set to be the first of its kind in the region.
It follows ongoing discussions of a potential combined authority of the mayor covering all four areas, with plans forming part of new “county agreements” for decentralization.
Council leaders in the four areas have been negotiating with ministers in recent months, focusing on six key areas for the potential deal.
These include education and skills, transport, infrastructure, strategic planning, health and the environment.
Leaders expect negotiations with the government to be concluded by the fall and a deal to be reached later this year, in time for the possible mayoral election in 2024.
The documents indicate that this date is the expected deadline for residents to go to the polls, allowing the government to pass all relevant laws in the Leveling and Regeneration Bill.
If all negotiations and legislation go as planned, it could see billions of pounds injected into the region and give local leaders more decision-making powers over major projects.
The post of mayor would control a new combined authority, which would include councilors from county and town councils, with funding to be provided directly to the Whitehall authority.
The combined authority would also govern around 2.2 million people, making it one of the largest in the country, while the mayor would have similar responsibilities to Andy Burnham in Manchester.
Documents released by Nottinghamshire County Council say: “The Government’s aim is for a number of devolution deals to be completed in principle by autumn 2022.
“Minister Neil O’Brien, MP says the first mayoral election is likely to take place in May 2024.
“It depends on the legislative timetable for the Leveling and Regeneration Bill which will enable a new type of combined authority. Our ambition is to get the deal done as soon as possible.
If the mayoral election takes place in May 2024, it will likely take place on the same day as the next general election.
John Clarke (Lab), leader of Gedling Borough Council, took part in discussions alongside other council leaders in the area.
He told the Local Democracy Reporting Service, “We need to make some serious decisions with this that restore confidence in people’s minds about local and national government.
“It’s about people’s lives. That could be great because instead of bidding on the government for funding, we’re going to bid on the mayor’s office.
“Hopefully that makes us a fucking better show than we’ve had with the government in the past.”
“I think that’s probably one of the best ways to do it.”