Labour MP for Walton and close ally of Jeremy Corbyn addresses 100-strong audience of Labour MPs, local council leaders, Trade Unions and party members in Knowsley. Tony McDonough reports.
Labour’s candidate for Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, Steve Rotheram has pledged to seize the “golden opportunity” devolution offers for Merseyside.
Officially launching his campaign ahead of May’s election, Mr Rotheram, the current MP for Walton, addressed 100-strong audience of Labour MPs, local council leaders, Trade Unions and party members in Knowsley.
He said he wanted to end the “resource and policy dominance’ of the South of England.
North West-born TV actor and former Brookside star Sue Johnston introduced Mr Rotheram at the launch event.
In the speech, Mr Rotheram, a close ally of left wing Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, talked about how he wants to take the Liverpool city region in a new and positive direction.
He said: “In May 2010 I was elected to Parliament – securing 72% of the vote.
“Like most of my colleagues, however, I got into politics to help people – not to be someone.
“And that desire is still the thing that drives me forward on a daily basis.
“Today I am launching my campaign to ensure that (together) we seize devolution for the golden opportunity it presents to address the disconnect many feel exists with the Metropolitan elite.
“I want to use this opportunity to press the Government to move the political dial away from (just) London and the South East – to concentrate attention in the North – and specifically right here in our city region.
“That’s why my experience of local and national politics and Government – will stand me in good stead because the Metro Mayor position has to be used to address local concerns by challenging inter-regional inequalities.
“Ending the resource and policy dominance of the South is even more important in the context of the Brexit vote.
“I voted to remain in the EU, but we now need to ensure we make the most of what Brexit presents for the 1.5m people in our city region.”
He added: “For me – devolution is a chance for our area to find its own voice; to shape its own future and begin to take control over our own destiny.
“It is time we punched above our weight on a national and international stage, maximising the value of the world-renowned Liverpool brand for the whole city region.”