The Conservative Party has selected its candidate to become York and North Yorkshire’s first elected mayor.

Keane Duncan, who is the executive member for highways and transportation on North Yorkshire Council, will stand to be mayor of the combined authority

Mr Duncan, 28, was one of three candidates for the role along with North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Zoë Metcalfe and tech entrepreneur Matthew Freckelton.

The final hustings were held at the Bridge Hotel and Spa at Walshford, near Wetherby, last night (July 15).

Mr Duncan said: “It’s an honour to win the confidence of party members to fight for my home area in this critical election.

“Our landmark £540m devolution deal represents an unprecedented opportunity to unlock opportunities for everyone who lives here, particularly the next generation.

“My vision for York and North Yorkshire is one that is open for business and proud of success - a greener and more productive area embracing future industries and offering highly-skilled, well-paid job opportunities.

York Press: Keane DuncanKeane Duncan (Image: Supplied)

“It is of an area with affordable housing provided on brownfield sites so people who work here can afford to live here too.

“It is of an area where our transport is connected, affordable and accessible.

“It is of an area where no matter our background, or our upbringing or our beliefs we all have a stake in its success.

“And of course, it is of a York and North Yorkshire that is safer for everyone.

“This is the York and North Yorkshire I will be working to deliver, and ahead of polling day in May I hope to convince voters I have the vision and fight to make a difference for people in every corner of our diverse and vast county.”

York Press: Keane Duncan in YorkKeane Duncan in York (Image: Submitted)

Kevin Hollinrake, MP for Thirsk and Malton, showed support for Mr Duncan after the decision was made.

The Conservative MP said: “Many congratulations to Keane Duncan on his selection as Conservative candidate for the York and North Yorkshire Mayoral election in May 2024.

“Fantastic role offering a wonderful opportunity to boost the economy and bolster efforts to tackle crime in the region.”

Mr Duncan, from Malton, was the leader of Ryedale District Council from May 2019 to February 2021.

The University of York graduate is a journalist and became the youngest councillor in Britain when he was elected to represent Norton on North Yorkshire County Council in 2017 aged 24.  

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The first Mayor of a York and North Yorkshire Combined Authority is due to be elected in May 2024, following a process of devolution.

The new authority, with the Mayor at its head, will have responsibility for bringing hundreds of millions of pounds of investment into the region, and will be in charge of regional projects such as the York and North Yorkshire Local Transport Plan and adult education.

The new Mayor will also take over the powers currently held by the police, fire and crime commissioner.

City of York Council and North Yorkshire Council will remain autonomous, but would work closely with the new Mayor and would appoint members to the new combined authority.