Steve Rotheram believes that Brexit and devolition could prove to be a ‘golden opportunity’ for the Liverpool City Region over the next 12 months.
The Labour MP for Walton remains the firm favourite to be elected Merseyside’s first-ever Metro mayor when its elections are held on May 4, 2017.
Rotheram has used his end-of-year address to pledge the best possible deal for the region in the process of the UK’s exit from the European Union as well as bridging the North-South divide in the face of devolution.
He said: “2016 was a year that seemed to change the national and international political landscape dramatically.
“From the historic vote to leave the EU, Donald Trump’s unexpected election victory in America and the rise of the far right across mainland Europe, and let’s be honest, it was a difficult year for our party also.
“However, with the turn of the New Year, I believe 2017 presents many opportunities for the Liverpool city region.
“We have to make the most of Brexit and what it presents for the 1.5 million people across Merseyside and Halton.
“While the Government in Westminster seemingly has no plan for Britain’s future outside the EU, if I’m elected as Metro Mayor I’ll fight to ensure that whatever comes out of our Brexit negotiations, we have a strong voice that delivers the best possible future for our area, to ensure we are not left behind yet again.
“Devolution is our chance to wrestle power from Whitehall, and bring decision making back to our towns and communities, so that we can start to close the North-South divide that has widened under this Tory government.
“We need to be able to take local decisions on housing, transport and skills to secure the economic growth we need to create the jobs, apprenticeships and wealth to take our city region forward.”
in an interview with the Associated Press,
He said: “I did a game in the UK two weeks ago – Everton-Arsenal – where I have given an incorrect corner.
“After reviewing six different angles it looks a corner on the pitch, nobody gives any dissent.
“But two corners later Arsenal conceded and people give you the negative feedback that you’ve made a huge error in the game.
“It’s disappointing that I get a split second to see it and then two corners later it’s led to a goal and I’m getting blamed for that. I suppose that’s part and parcel of refereeing.”