Local Elections 2021: Everything you need to know about West Yorkshire’s new mayor Tracy Brabin

Tracy Brabin has been elected as the first mayor of West Yorkshire after securing 310,923 votes following a second preference count.

Who is Tracy Brabin?

She is a former Coronation Street actress and has been MP for Batley and Spen for five years. She was born and grew up in Batley before going on to study drama at University.

She has also served in the shadow cabinets of Jeremy Corbyn and Sir Kier Stamer as the Shadow Culture Secretary and Shadow Cultural Industries Minister respectively.

Before becoming a politician Ms Brabin was an actress and appeared in Emmerdale as Carole in 2014 and as Tricia Armstrong in Coronation Street between 1994 and 1997.

What’s she promised to do as mayor?

Big campaign pledges include bringing West Yorkshire’s bus system under public control, recruiting 750 police officers and creating 1,000 skilled jobs for young people.

To do all that she’ll have to work with the leaders of the five West Yorkshire councils on the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Board.

The mayor gets an annual budget of £38m - which might seem like a lot, but only works out at around £15 per person in West Yorkshire. So some of the biggest projects the mayor wants to take on might require negotiating more funding from Whitehall.

Will she still be an MP?

No. To be ‘sworn in’ as mayor, Tracy Brabin will have to resign as an MP. This is because the West Yorkshire Mayor takes on the role of Police and Crime Commissioner, and the terms of that role mean you can’t also be an MP. Tracy has said she will resign as an MP on Monday.

Why can other mayors still be MPs?

Good question. It all comes down to the devolution deals different areas have with the government. In South Yorkshire, the mayor doesn’t take on the role of Police and Crime Commissioner, so the mayor Dan Jarvis is free to be both an MP and Mayor.

Combined authority mayors are also barred from being councillors of a constituent local authority.

When will the by-election be held?

That’s still to be decided. Labour can start the process of a by-election by ‘moving the writ’ - which usually happens within three months of a seat becoming vacant. If Labour want to move quickly, there could be a by-election before the end of June. If they think it’s politically convenient to hold the election later, it could be as late as October or even November.