A relatively unknown solicitor from Huddersfield will use Yorkshire Day to launch his bid for political power in the county.
Hugh Goulbourne, a Labour party activist and community leader, has become the second person to announce their intention to compete to be West Yorkshire Mayor.
Former Labour MP for Dewsbury, Paula Sherriff, has already revealed she will run for the high profile role – set to be created by the long awaited devolution project that will give West Yorkshire new economic and political powers.
After years of stalling, government finally agreed devolution in early March. Politicians across the five boroughs will get a £1.8bn budget to control our transport systems and investments, crucially giving new hope that the long awaited mass transit system could actually happen.
An elected West Yorkshire Mayor was part of the deal. They will be elected in May 2021 and will also get powers over the police, similar to models in London and Greater Manchester, in 2024.
Mr Goulbourne, who moved to Huddersfield in 2009 and is a senior commercial solicitor at Haddletons Legal, said if he became mayor he would seek even to take even more powers from Westminster
Speaking ahead of his launch, he said: “Yorkshire Day seemed the perfect opportunity to launch my bid to be Mayor in next year’s election.
“The post of Mayor of West Yorkshire is not the Yorkshire-wide role that the region needs, but we should still use this opportunity to take back control of our own destiny.
“So much of politics in Yorkshire is about Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, Leeds and Wakefield fighting for scraps from Westminster.
“I want to take this once in a lifetime opportunity to take a fresh approach to the role.
“I’m not defined by the existing political structures and I’m definitely someone who can get things done, which is crucial in this period of crisis in both health and the economy.”
Mr Goulbourne, who is a voluntary director of Huddersfield Unlimited, member of the Huddersfield Business Improvement District COVID19 taskforce. and also the chair of the ‘Huddersfield Diversity = Innovation Network’, added: “When my wife and I talk to other families here they share our frustration about the decline of our town centres.
“They want investment into schemes that provide opportunities for our children. They want new housing but also to protect our precious countryside.
“As Mayor, I believe this local intelligence will give me the confidence and energy to try new things. For example, I can use my experience of helping to regenerate parts of East London to make the best of the mayor’s resource and powers to bring back jobs and improve our town centres.
“I will continue to work with community groups, business leaders, councillors and MPs across the region, to think beyond our current Victorian infrastructure and work out how we can deliver a transport system at pace that is fit for the 21st century.
“If London can have billions of pounds for a new rail system, then we deserve a transport system that can get our kids to school, students to college and parents to shops and workplaces safely and efficiently.
“Most importantly, as a lawyer I am not afraid to lead without political permission and I would use the position of Mayor to test the powers handed down to us by politicians in Westminster to ensure that we get the investment that is needed for our public health system today.
“There is unlimited potential here in West Yorkshire and we will build back better from the current health and economic crisis if we come together and draw on all the talent of West Yorkshire’s diverse and talented population.”