What’s the North Yorkshire Mayor all about ? (and why you should pay attention to it)

1 May 2024

Why is North Yorkshire getting a Mayor ?

On 1 August 2022, ministers and local leaders signed a devolution deal for York and North Yorkshire.

That deal devolved some powers to a new mayoral combined authority, headed by a mayor that will be elected in May 2024.

In 2017 Devolution deal was put forward for all of Yorkshire. At that time South Yorkshire and West Yorkshire were allowed to have Mayors, but Ministers said that North Yorkshire didn’t form a coherent economic area.

But under a Labour Government in 2004, devolution was also talked about with a Regional Assembly, something that didn’t receive sufficient local support to go forward.

However, the main reasons cited for the need for Devolution and a regional mayor is to give a greater voice in Westminster, and to gain access to greater budgets – or you could call it levelling-up, with North Yorkshire gaining a fairer budget when compared to London and the South.

When will the North Yorkshire Mayor be appointed ?

The vote will take place on 2 May 2024, with the count taking place during the day on 3 May 2024.

What is the York and North Yorkshire Combined Authority, and how does it work with the new Mayor ?

The new Mayor will lead the York and North Yorkshire Combined Authority.

The Mayor has responsibility for transport, housing and planning, and finance powers, as well as the functions of the Police and Crime Commissioner, supported by an appointed Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime.

As the Chair of the Combined Authority, the Mayor works with partners across the region and beyond to deliver regeneration and economic development, and co-ordinate the long-term programmes that aim to transform North Yorkshire.


What powers does the Combined Authority and Mayor have ?

The main areas of responsibility are transport, housing, environment and policing. But it is not just about powers but overall aim of the role which is to secure a levelling-up of the economy in the North, with the devolution of powers for local control.

Who is standing as candidate for Mayor ?

There are 6 candidates, with elections on the 2 May 2024.

  • Keith Tordoff – Independent Candidate
  • Felicity Cunliffe – Lister – Libdems
  • David Skaith – Labour
  • Kevin Foster – Green Party
  • Keane Duncan – Conservative Party
  • Paul Haslam – Independent Candidate


Opinion, Tim Cook, Editor of the Harrogate Informer:

Nearly all the campaigning has been based around throwing out crowd-pleasing statements of intent. When Keane started making claims as to what he would do, it then tended to push the other candidates in feeling that they needed to do similar. I think that was unhealthy for getting genuine messages across.

Some of what has been promised isn’t even in the remit of a mayor.

But the risk is that the public, who follow local politics to a varying degree, will have seen all the borough councils go, to be replaced by a larger county council, they may then just view the mayor (and the combined authority) as just another council that has popped-up.

The mayor has relatively small budget in the bigger picture for the county, but their big objective is to speak for the county and level-up.

The question is does Westminster genuinely want to level-up North Yorkshire, and the answer is probably not.

So the Mayor has a herculean task to get the deals that North Yorkshire needs.

But try and spend, even just a few minutes reading about the candidates, and vote, even if you don’t feel you want to.



Keith Tordoff – Independent 

Keith Tordoff - Independent candidate for Mayor of Harrogate
Keith Tordoff – Independent candidate for Mayor of Harrogate

Keith lives in Pateley Bridge, and has early career background in policing with West Yorkshire Police, and then moved into fraud detection in banking, and running a family Sweet shop business.

He has twice stood to be the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner.


His Manifesto/ priorities:

  • Make North Yorkshire an economic powerhouse: a place where businesses can thrive, and residents can find meaningful employment both in rural communities and in its cities.

  • Improve transport links and connectivity, especially for rural communities.

  • Make North Yorkshire a safer place to live, work and visit.

  • Make North Yorkshire a world leader in sustainability, while protecting and advancing its agricultural and fishing heritage.



David Skaith – Labour

David Skaith, the Labour Party candidate for Mayor of York and North Yorkshire
David Skaith, the Labour Party candidate for Mayor of York and North Yorkshire

David runs an independent clothing store in the city centre of York, and has a strong interest in small business, and local economy for many years.

His policy/ manifesto:

  • Deliver a cost of living recovery plan by supporting families to put more money in your pocket, building affordable housing and boosting business.
  • Fight for more GP and dentist appointments with better healthcare facilities for local neighbourhoods to help tackle soaring NHS waiting lists.
  • Tackle crime and antisocial behaviour investing in our police to be tough on crime and tough on its causes across urban, rural and coastal areas alike.
  • Connect our communities with a new transport system
  • with affordable fares, new bus routes and a Mayor’s Pothole Fund to make our roads better for all.
  • Champion York and North Yorkshire
  • to attract investment in our communities and always fighting for the best deal for our region.




Felicity Cunliffe-lister – Libdems

Felicity Cunliffe-Lister
Felicity Cunliffe-Lister


Felicity is, along with her husband, the owner operator of the Swinton Hotel and Estate near to Masham.

For the economy :

  • To be a thriving hub for investment, research and skills
  • To achieve its carbon zero target, be biodiverse and sustainable
  • To get our fair share – for central government to level up its funding and commit to investing in our potential

And for all of us :

  • To be able to live in a low carbon home each can afford
  • In a sustainable community
  • On a salary that supports our own family life and wellbeing






Paul Haslam – Independent

Paul Haslam
Paul Haslam

Paul is currently a North Yorkshire Councillor in the Bilton area of Harrogate, and was previously a Borough Councillor.

He has a very developed manifesto that is best read directly from his website

The manifesto leads on pragmatic implementation of green measures, along with better transport connectivity, and adult education leading into economic growth.



Kevin Foster – Green Party

Kevin Foster mayor
Kevin Foster is the Green Party Candidate to be Mayor of York and North Yorkshire

Kevin Foster has lived in Catterick, North Yorkshire for over 40 years. He has served 30 years both in the Armed Forces Reserves and as a civil servant. His elected local government experience covers every level from Parish, Town, District, County, and now North Yorkshire unitary Council where he represents Hipswell & Colburn Division.

Key priorities:

  • Securing sustainable jobs
  • Improving Housing & Transport
  • Winning a fair share for York & North Yorkshire





Keane Duncan – Conservative

Keane Duncan is a career politician that is standing on behalf of the Conservate Party.

He has declined all requests for interviews, and ignored the majority of our emails.

The campaign has been driven by an aim to grab headlines, with little that seemingly backs-up the headline. He has said that he would offer free car parking in city and town centre, but the costs and execution were vague. The same applied to his headline grabbing statement for buying the Grand Hotel in Scarborough.


  • More police and safer streets
  • Secure a fair dealer for our farmers and fishermen
  • Deliver quality homes that people can afford
  • Create new jobs and secure investment
  • Better transport and travel connections
  • Ensure communities of every size can thrive



Supporting Documents

Policy paper

York and North Yorkshire devolution deal

Published 1 August 2022



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