Devolution and Mayoral Elections 2021


The polls of May 2021 were the largest set of local elections in a generation. A significant part of this was down to the expanding number of contests for Britain’s newest and most high-profile politicians – Metro Mayors. They are the embodiments of the move to devolve more power within England, ensuring greater spending from Whitehall departments came with a mandate to deliver real local change.

“The old model of trying to run everything . . . from the centre of London is broken. We will go much further and deliver radical devolution to the great cities of England. I say to [them]: it is time for you to take control of your own affairs. … This is a revolution in the way we govern England.”

George Osborne, former Chancellor of the Exchequer
Chair, Northern Powerhouse Partnership, speaking in 2015

In this short report we have looked back at the results and analysed how the first stages of English devolution across the North have performed compared to how their political parties fared on the same day.  What we found is that across the North of England, the new Metro Mayors have caught the imagination of the public. Established Metro Mayors are providing a more visible presence and leadership, and they are driving up turnout at a local level – in all cases in the North outperforming their party brands.

Read the full report below.

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