Starmer opens door to metro mayors with promise to push power out of Whitehall

Sir Keir Starmer signalled more power could be given to metro mayors as he announced he would meet with regional leaders of all political stripes during his first week in Number 10.

The Prime Minister said his “door is open” to those who know what is best for their communities as he suggested the Labour Government would be “bold” about pushing resources out of Whitehall.

In his first Downing Street press conference after winning a landslide victory at the General Election, Sir Keir announced he would meet local politicians from cities across the country on Tuesday.

Sadiq Khan with Labour supporters at a watch party for the results of the 2024 General Election in central London
Sadiq Khan was returned as mayor of London this year (Jeff Moore/PA)

“The principle I operate to is those with skin in the game know what’s best for their communities,” the Prime Minister said.

“And that does require us to be bold about pushing power and resource out of Whitehall. And therefore when I return from the four nations, I will hold a meeting of the metro mayors to discuss with them their part in delivering the growth that we need across the United Kingdom.”

He said this would include non-Labour mayors because “regardless of the colour of their rosette, my door is open and my Government will work with them”.

Sir Keir has used his first 24 hours as Prime Minister to set an inclusive tone for his new administration.

In his first speech on Downing Street, he told the public “my Government will serve you” regardless of whether they voted Labour on Friday.

General Election campaign 2024
Lord Ben Houchen was re-elected Mayor of Tees Valley with a reduced vote share in May (James Manning/PA)

On Saturday, he vowed to turn his back on “tribalism” in politics. “There is no monopoly on good ideas,” Sir Keir said.

Labour swept to power with a majority of 412 at the July 4 election, handing them what Sir Keir described as a “clear mandate” to rule.

But after a low turnout at the polls, he spoke of the need to rebuild trust in the political system after 14 years of Tory rule marred by the partygate scandal and the chaos of Conservative infighting.

Vote share also suggests the new Government is unlikely to enjoy much of a honeymoon period, with around 34% of the electorate backing the party – less than Jeremy Corbyn secured in 2017.

However, Labour won an almost clean sweep of victories at the metro mayor elections in May too, with Andy Burnham returned in Greater Manchester, Sadiq Khan in London and Tracy Brabin in West Yorkshire.

Labour’s Richard Parker also took the West Midlands from Tory Andy Street, while Conservative Lord Ben Houchen clung on with a reduced majority in Tees Valley.