Mayor of West Yorkshire
Tracy Brabin
since 10 May 2021
West Yorkshire Combined Authority
StatusCombined authority metro mayor
Member ofWest Yorkshire Combined Authority
ResidenceWellington House, 40–50 Wellington Street, Leeds
NominatorPolitical parties or self-nomination
AppointerElectorate of West Yorkshire
by supplementary vote (2021); first-past-the-post voting (2024 onwards)
Term length4 years, renewable
Constituting instrumentCities and Local Government Devolution Act 2016
PrecursorChair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority
Inaugural holderTracy Brabin

The Mayor of West Yorkshire is a directly elected mayor responsible for the metropolitan county of West Yorkshire in England. The Mayor chairs and leads the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, and assumes the office and powers of the West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner.[2][3]

Based on the Cities and Local Government Devolution Act 2016, the West Yorkshire devolution deal was announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, in the March 2020 budget. It was formally signed by the UK Government and the region's five metropolitan borough councils (Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, Leeds and Wakefield) and after a public consultation on the deal, it became law in January 2021. The deal is the biggest of its kind and transfers decisions about investment in transport, skills, housing and regeneration from Parliament to West Yorkshire. The mayoralty also incorporates the functions of the police and crime commissioner and is able to appoint a deputy mayor for policing and crime.

The first mayoral election took place on 6 May 2021. The inaugural mayor was elected by the supplementary vote (SV) system to an initial three-year term, with the second mayoral election planned to take place in 2024; thereafter, the successful candidates are to be granted full four-year terms. Following the passing of the Elections Act 2022, future elections will instead be conducted using the first-past-the-post system. The first elected mayor is Tracy Brabin, Member of Parliament (MP) for Batley and Spen, who stood down as MP on being elected mayor.


The Local Government Act 2000 allowed all councils in England and Wales to consider a range of options as to how to amend or retain how they operate their executive functions, including the option for a local authority to be led by a directly elected mayor, instead of an elected councillor selected by their fellow councillors. The act also provided that a petition of more than 5% of the electorate of a council area could force that council to hold a referendum on whether to introduce a directly elected mayor. The salary for the position is £105,000 per annum, plus expenses.[4]

Mayoral referendums for Bradford, Leeds and Wakefield

As pledged in the 2010 Conservative Party election manifesto, the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government held a series of local referendums on 3 May 2012 asking whether each of the twelve largest cities in England by population should have a directly elected mayor to lead their council.[5][6] The electorates of the Bradford, Leeds and Wakefield districts voted by 55.1%, 63.3% and 62.2% respectively against introducing an elected mayor for City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council, Leeds City Council and Wakefield Council respectively.[7][8][9]

West Yorkshire Combined Authority

The West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) was first proposed in 2012 as part of the City Deal for the Leeds City Region. It was negotiated between the coalition government, Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership and the five West Yorkshire boroughs of Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, Leeds and Wakefield.[10][11] The combined authority was established on 1 April 2014, following a public consultation and statutory approval on 31 March 2014.[12][13]

In June 2014, Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne proposed elected mayors specifically for the cities of northern England as part of his policy proposal to build a 'Northern Powerhouse'. He cited "a mis-match between the economic importance of the great northern cities and their political clout. Wales has its own parliament, and can pass its own laws. But as the Centre for Cities point out, the economies of Manchester and Leeds are each individually bigger than Wales. But they don't have a single leader who can speak for the whole area." He offered "serious devolution of powers and budgets for any city that wants to move to a new model of city government – and have an elected Mayor."[14][15]

The Cities and Local Government Devolution Act 2016 legislated for the election of new mayors to combined authorities across England and Wales. As no deal had yet been agreed with West Yorkshire, it set out the legal framework for any future mayoralty with the devolution of some powers to West Yorkshire over education and training, economic development, housing and transport subject to the progression of future negotiations.

Discussions between the combined authority and HM Treasury continued, with the five Labour council leaders in West Yorkshire opposed to the Conservative government's preferred city region model favouring a 'Mayor of the Leeds City Region'. The model would have included the five West Yorkshire council districts as well as Barnsley, Craven, Harrogate, Selby and York.

The five constituent councils eventually formally supported a 'One Yorkshire' proposal to elect a mayor for the entire Yorkshire region. In 2018, the plan was submitted to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, James Brokenshire, with the support of 18 of the 20 local councils across Yorkshire. In February 2019, the One Yorkshire proposal was rejected by Brokenshire as it did not meet the government's devolution criteria.[16][17]

2020 West Yorkshire devolution deal

The Nexus building at the University of Leeds, where the devolution deal was signed

After further negotiations, it was announced in the March 2020 budget that the government and the West Yorkshire authorities had agreed a proposed West Yorkshire devolution deal.[18][19][20]

The proposed devolution deal was formally signed on 12 March 2020 in the Nexus building at the University of Leeds. The agreement was signed by Chancellor Rishi Sunak, Northern Powerhouse Minister Simon Clarke, the combined authority's chair and Bradford Council Leader Susan Hinchcliffe, and the four other constituent council leaders: Judith Blake (Leeds), Denise Jeffery (Wakefield), Shabir Pandor (Kirklees) and Tim Swift (Calderdale).

It will include the handling of £38 million-per-year investment from central government for 30 years.[21] The mayor will have control over regional transport (including working toward creating a regional mass transit system), housing, land (with responsibility for creating a city region spatial plan) and adult skills.[3][22] The role absorbs the responsibilities of the police and crime commissioner for West Yorkshire, similar to the Mayor of London and the Mayor of Greater Manchester.

A planned public consultation was undertaken in 2020 before the deal was finalised.[2][3] 4,400 members of the public participated in the consultation, a majority support of those who participated supported the scheme.[23] Opposition councillors across the councils, such as Conservaties, Liberal Democrats and Independents.[24][23] The first mayoral election was held on 6 May 2021.[2][3][18]

Powers and responsibilities

Policing and crime

The West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner was an elected official tasked with setting out the way crime is tackled by West Yorkshire Police. The position, which replaced the West Yorkshire Police Authority, was created in November 2012, following an election held on 15 November 2012, and was held by Mark Burns-Williamson for its entirety from 2012 to 2021. It became defunct in May 2021, its powers and responsibility being transferred to the Mayor of West Yorkshire as a part of the West Yorkshire Devolution deal as signed by Rishi Sunak, Simon Clarke and the five leaders of the constituent councils.[25][26] As of the inaugural election of the mayor in 2021, the role is incorporated into the Mayor's responsibilities, with the power to appoint a deputy mayor to support in this role.[27]

Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire
Name Term start Term end
Mark Burns-Williamson 22 November 2012 9 May 2021
Deputy Mayor of West Yorkshire for Policing and Crime
Name Term start Term end
Alison Lowe 18 June 2021

List of mayors

Name Picture Term of office Elected Political party
Tracy Brabin 10 May 2021 Incumbent 2021 Labour and Co-operative

List of elections


  1. ^ Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009, s 107A(5)
  2. ^ a b c Lavigueur, Nick (14 November 2018). "Who could be the Mayor when West Yorkshire devolution happens?". LeedsLive. Retrieved 15 March 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d Beecham, Richard (25 March 2020). "Devolution: What powers will the West Yorkshire mayor have?". The Yorkshire Post. Retrieved 27 March 2020.
  4. ^ "Why £105,000 a year West Yorkshire mayor salary is fair – The Yorkshire Post says". The Yorkshire Post. 4 March 2021. Archived from the original on 10 May 2021. Retrieved 10 May 2021.
  5. ^ "Cameron gives elected mayor views in Birmingham". BBC News. 4 October 2010. Retrieved 11 January 2012.
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  12. ^ Scheme for the Establishment of a Combined Authority for West Yorkshire
  13. ^ "The West Yorkshire Combined Authority Order 2014" (PDF). Retrieved 10 August 2016.
  14. ^ "Chancellor: 'We need a Northern powerhouse'". HM Treasury. 23 June 2014.
  15. ^ "Chancellor raises elected city mayors issue for England – again". The Guardian. 23 June 2014.
  16. ^ "Government rejects 'One Yorkshire' devolution deal". BBC News. 12 February 2019. Retrieved 8 June 2021.
  17. ^ Bounds, Andy (15 January 2020). "Councils sign up to South Yorkshire devolution". Financial Times. Retrieved 25 January 2020.
  18. ^ a b "West Yorkshire £1.8bn devolution deal agreed". BBC News. 11 March 2020. Retrieved 12 March 2020.
  19. ^ Westwood, Andy (12 March 2020). "Why Government plans to level up pose a challenge for metro mayor candidates". Centre for Cities. Retrieved 13 March 2020.
  20. ^ Parsons, Rob (13 March 2020). "West Yorkshire metro mayor can ask council tax payers to help fund key projects". Yorkshire Evening Post. Retrieved 13 March 2020.
  21. ^ Beecham, Richard (11 March 2020). "This is what the £1.8bn West Yorkshire devolution deal means for Leeds". Yorkshire Evening Post. Retrieved 14 March 2020.
  22. ^ Pidd, Helen (11 March 2020). "Sunak vows budget boost for regions – but not everyone is happy". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 March 2020.
  23. ^ a b "All five West Yorkshire Councils have now backed Devolution deal". Bradford Telegraph and Argus. 10 September 2020. Retrieved 23 September 2020.
  24. ^ Beecham, Richard (2 September 2020). "Backlash over West Yorkshire mayor plan – that this city didn't want". LeedsLive. Retrieved 23 September 2020.
  25. ^ West Yorkshire Devolution Deal (PDF). 2020.
  26. ^ "The West Yorkshire Combined Authority (Election of Mayor and Functions) Order 2021". The National Archives. Retrieved 2 February 2021.
  27. ^ Parsons, Rob (22 January 2021). "West Yorkshire metro mayor to take on police commissioner's powers from May". The Yorkshire Post. Retrieved 19 February 2021.