Carlisle MP, John Stevenson has said that Cumbria’s two elected authorities are ‘failing Cumbria’ by not opting to have an elected mayor.

The option of an elected mayor – similar to those in the Tees Valley and Greater Manchester - has been suggested in Cumbria for some time but no plans have yet been made to create a mayoralty in the county.

John Stevenson was speaking exclusively to the News and Star at the Northern Research Group’s conference at Doncaster Racecourse where the idea of a directly elected Cumbrian mayor was backed by former Carlisle City Council Chief Executive, Jason Gooding and high-profile Tees Valley mayor, Ben Houchen.

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Metro mayors have been elected in local authorities across the country including in the West Midland, West Yorkshire and Greater Manchester.

Mayors of different political parties have made significant policy decisions in their respective areas with Labour’s Andy Burnham attempt to bring Manchester’s public transport system under public ownership and Conservative Ben Houchen reopening the Tees Valley airport in the north east.

John Stevenson said he was ‘very disappointed’ with Cumberland and Westmorland and Furness councils for not drawing up plans for an elected mayor and combined authority.

“I've been a longstanding supporter of devolution in Cumbria,” said Mr Stevenson, “and to be perfectly frank, I'm very disappointed in the two councils in Cumbria that they haven't seen the benefits that an elected mayor and combined authority would bring to Cumbria with the additional investment and the profile that would be brought with the role  and I think they're failing Cumbria by not having a mayor.

Critics of the mayoral system have said that it adds an additional layer of bureaucracy to local politics and that if power is to be devolved to the regions, then elected councillors should take those decisions rather than elected mayors.

The idea of further devolution for the regions – including a Cumbrian mayor – was raised at the Northern Research Group’s conference in Doncaster.

Carlisle MP, John Stevenson is the chairman of the group which is made up of Conservative MPs elected in former Labour strongholds.