Campaigners call on progressive candidates in York and North Yorkshire mayoral election to embrace cross-party working

Cross-party campaigners have called on Labour, Liberal Democrat and Green candidates for the York and North Yorkshire Mayoral election to “embrace political pluralism in order to promote wider cross-party representation in York and North Yorkshire”.
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Cross-party campaign group Compass York and North Yorkshire believes that, faced as we are with the toxic tribalism and divisive “culture wars” of current local and national politics, there is a need to amplify a conversation about the importance of greater co-operation and consensus-building between progressive parties.

Bearing this out, Kevin Foster, the Green Party’s candidate, said he would “seriously consider” appointing a deputy from another party, while David Skaith, the Labour candidate, said it was “unfortunate that progressive parties didn’t join together to beat the Conservatives”.

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These comments came during an event hosted by Compass York and North Yorkshire on March 23 at King’s Manor in York.

Voters will go the polls on May 2Voters will go the polls on May 2
Voters will go the polls on May 2

Although Felicity Cunliffe-Lister, the Lib Dem candidate, was invited to this event too, she was sadly unable to accept. However, Compass is also keen to engage with her campaign and will continue to pursue the links that have already been established.

Compass York and North Yorkshire is a campaign group focussed on facilitating cross-party collaboration to ensure more inclusive progressive representation in the region.

On May 2, voters in York and North Yorkshire will head to the polls to elect the first Mayor of the new combined authority of York and North Yorkshire.

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Whoever is elected will control a budget of £540million over 30 years and will be responsible for transport, housing, education, reaching net zero as well as fire and policing, thereby setting the region's economic and social direction for years to come.

Statistics from the 2022 and 2023 council elections (respectively North Yorkshire and City of York) delivered a combined progressive vote share of 64 per cent. But this was split between Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Green parties, reducing the effectiveness of each.

Compass hopes to encourage progressive parties to come together and recognise their shared aims.

This collaboration can take many shapes and sizes - from taking on policies from other progressive parties to appointing a deputy from a different progressive party.

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Celine Barry, spokesperson for Compass York and North Yorkshire, said: “At Compass, we seek to unify progressive voters, while at the same time urging all candidates to embrace political pluralism in order to promote wider cross-party representation in York and North Yorkshire.

"The two candidates who attended the Progressive Conversation witnessed the energy and hope such a message conveyed on the day.

"Only by encouraging progressives to work together across party lines can we pave the way for a more inclusive and prosperous future for York and North Yorkshire.

"We call on all progressive party candidates, if they wish to gain the wider support they’ll need to win this election, to respond constructively to this growing demand for cross-party collaboration.”