Metro mayors 'given more power' - Rotheram

Liverpool City Region mayor Steve Rotheram was among regional leaders meeting Prime Minister Sir Keir Starmer at Downing Street.

The Labour mayor joined England's metro mayors for talks with the Labour prime minister about moving more power away from Westminster.

Mr Rotheram said metro mayors were now being given more localised control and described meetings with the former Tory government as "conversations with one arm tied behind our backs".

The BBC has approached the Conservative Party for comment.

Keir Starmer sits next to Angela Rayner, Ben Houchen, Mayor of the Tees Valley and Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region
The prime minister and his deputy, Angela Rayner, met the 12 regional mayors to discuss "a major programme of devolution" [Reuters]

Mr Rotheram said the meeting was "genuinely grownups having an adult conversation".

"Conversations around what we can do better, how we can put forward ideas to try and get this economic growth that we’ve heard so much about," he said.

Eleven mayors from across England took part in the talks.

It is understood there are plans for the group to meet regularly in what is being described as a "council for regions and nations".

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham and Mayor of Liverpool City Region Steve Rotheram react outside Downing Street in London
Mayor of Liverpool Steve Rotheram and Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham met with Prime Minister, Keir Starmer [PA Media]

"With power you have to be accountable, and we've been now given some real power by this government," Mr Rotheram said.

Mr Rotheram, who was first elected in 2017, beat his nearest rival, Conservative Jade Marsden, by more than 156,000 votes and increased his vote share by 9.7 points at the recent metro mayoral election.

Mr Rotheram said he had been in conversation about the Mersey Tidal Power Project with Rachel Reeves, now Chancellor of the Exchequer, for 18 months.

He said: "The money is the important bit, but the deliverability of the project can be helped by her helping us."

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