Rotheram launches Metro Mayor re-election campaign

Steve Rotheram has vowed to put the Liverpool City Region “back on its perch” as he launched his bid for a third term as Metro Mayor.

Addressing Labour Party members and supporters at the Spine building this morning, Mr Rotheram set out his vision for another four years at the helm of the combined authority. With announcements on transport, housing and the economy, the former MP said he wanted to further the benefits of devolution and “deliver on the potential of the whole Liverpool City Region.”

If elected, Mr Rotheram said he wanted to “take back our future” in releasing power from Westminster “where they’d struggle to tell the difference between Kirkby and West Kirby.”

During his 30-minute speech, the Labour candidate – one of only two announced for the 2 May Mayoral ballot to date – said, “The combined authority has gone from strength to strength because of the buy-in of local leaders. We plan to go further and faster in building a better region for everyone who is lucky enough to call this place home.”

Mr Rotheram added how it has been “an honour” to serve as a councillor, Lord Mayor, Member of Parliament – “and now Mayor of the region I love.” Unveiling parts of his policy platform, the Metro Mayor said he wanted the Liverpool City Region to take the lead on digital technology.

He said, “Just as we once blazed a trail with the country’s first medical officer to oversee public health – I will appoint the region’s first Chief Digital Officer to oversee our digital health – and lead the AI revolution, because I want to exploit the potential of AI for Good.

“So – I will establish an AI task force – chaired by the Chief Digital Officer – to map out the practical applications of AI in the Liverpool City Region – specifically in transport, education and health.”

The Labour hopeful added how by working with the six councils in the region, targets would be stretched for social housing, a development arm to deliver publicly owned housing established, as well as a return to building council homes.

Having already set out proposals to deliver three new stations on the Merseyrail network last week, as well as expedite the opening of Liverpool Baltic, Mr Rotheram unveiled plans to deliver a trackless tram network from Liverpool city centre to John Lennon Airport from 2028. This would be delivered alongside services to both Anfield and Bramley Moore Dock in time for the European Championships in the same year.

There was also a positive update on ticketing – with Mr Rotheram hoping to secure a hat-trick of delivery in the next four years – with integrated, capped and contactless tickets earmarked for launch in 2028.

He said, “We’re now agonisingly close to the ultimate prize; a Labour mayor working with Labour councils, Labour PCCs and crucially a Labour government, which has never happened before.” Mr Rotheram added, “And – to paraphrase a Scotsman who enjoyed a degree of success down the road in Manchester – We’ll put the region back on our perch.”

Image: Steve Rotheram launched his campaign for Metro Mayor. Credit: David Humphreys

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