Labour’s candidate for Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, Steve Rotheram MP, launched the party’s campaign in Knowsley today with a keynote speech.
The Walton MP addressed a 100-strong audience of Labour MPs, local council leaders, Trade Unions and party members.
Merseyside-born actress Sue Johnston introduced Mr Rotheram at the launch event.
In the speech, Mr Rotheram discussed how he got into politics and how he wants to take the Liverpool City Region in a new and positive direction.
George Howarth MP, who attended the event, said:
“Steve Rotheram hasn’t forgotten where he came from and he knows where he wants to take us.”
Steve Rotheram added:
“I never had any Parliamentary ambitions.
“I can tell you that it came as a bit of a surprise when my predecessor announced he was stepping-down as the MP for Liverpool Walton and suggested I put myself forward.
“In May 2010 I was elected to Parliament – securing 72% of the vote.
“Like most of my colleagues, however, (many here in the room today) – 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 1.5 million people in our City Region.
“If there are indeed opportunities from our withdrawal from the EU – as many in the commentariat suggest – these must be distributed fairly.
“We need to ensure that any advantages that come from Brexit are exploited here – so that we can compete with the South to make our area an economic powerhouse once again.
“And I have met with David Davis to ensure we have a strong voice in any Brexit negotiations – so that it delivers the best possible outcomes – and we are not left behind yet again.
“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.”