Mayoral polling day unmoved by general election

Metro mayors for Merseyside and Greater Manchester will be selected on 4 May as planned, it was confirmed after initial fears Theresa May’s decision to hold a snap general election on 8 June would delay the city region votes until the same day.

News of the snap election, due to be confirmed by a Commons vote today, threw up more questions than answers as it broke on Tuesday morning.

Andy Burnham later confirmed he will not contest his Leigh seat if he wins the mayoral election. He had previously not set a date for stepping down as an MP. Burnham objected to the prime minister’s decision, accusing the Tory Party of putting “its own interests before the national interest”.

The chance of Cllr Sean Anstee being offered a safe Tory seat in the next general election if he lost the mayoral race appear to have been scuppered by the timing of the snap election and he could have to wait until the following GE in 2022.

Steve Rotheram, Labour candidate and overwhelming favourite to win the Liverpool City Region race, said he is unlikely to stand as Walton MP if he becomes mayor next month. He added in a statement: “The Prime Minister has announced a historic decision to call a snap General Election on 8 June, just weeks after guaranteeing that it would not happen. This demonstrates the cynical opportunism of a Tory Party that only acts in its own interests, rather than those of the country.

“During a vital period when Parliament is in the process of scrutinising the terms of the UK’s Brexit deal, Theresa May’s statement reinforces the importance of the Metro Mayor election when 1.5 million people in our City Region can send her Government a very clear message that they reject Tory austerity.

“Their approach has meant our six Local Authorities have seen their central Government funding cut to the bone, which has had a devastating impact on the way vital services are delivered.

“A General Election is also a chance to ensure Labour MPs are re-elected to collectively provide a strong voice for our area in Westminster.”

It remains to be seen if George Osborne will stand again in Tatton, a constituency which was due to disappear in boundary changes by 2020 but will remain in the June 2017 election.

The North West has a high number of marginal and swing seats which could be pivotal in deciding the outcome of the general election.

These include Chris Matheson’s 93 majority in Chester, the tightest Labour seat in the country.

Meanwhile, the decision to hold a snap election will put distance between Brexit decision-making and the general election, boosting property investment, according to Jon Neale, head of UK research at advisor JLL. He said: “The announcement of a snap general election on 8 June is a genuine positive for the UK property industry.

“It will mean that a general election is no longer likely to coincide with the end of the two-year negotiating period following the triggering of Article 50. The Prime Minister will now be under less pressure to ‘deliver Brexit’ by 2020 – making a transitional phase more likely.

“The threat of UK businesses having to face a ‘cliff edge’ – a fall back to WTO trading rules and full customs controls with the European Union – has retreated. Companies will still have to make contingency plans, but there may be less pressure on companies to plan for a sharp exit without the ‘deep relationship’ that the current government wants with the EU being agreed. This should help improve confidence in the market. The residential market should benefit too, for similar reasons. However, much still depends on the course of the negotiations and the result of the general election.”

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