TWO men vying to be the first mayor for York and North Yorkshire called for co-operation between the different political and community sections of the area.

Kevin Foster of the Green Party and Labour’s David Skaith were addressing a meeting called by York and North Yorkshire Compass campaign group at Kings Manor, central York.

Both men said they would support local businesses and local organisations in moves to make life better for people in the area, and that they would involve non-political experts in their fields when considering issues such as housing or transport.

York Press: Labour candidate David SkaithLabour candidate David Skaith (Image: Newsquest)

“If we can make it work here, we can make it work everywhere,” said Mr Skaith.

He said small businesses had a vital role to play. 

York Press: Green Party candidate Kevin FosterGreen Party candidate Kevin Foster (Image: Newsquest)

Mr Foster said he would try to bring people from all political parties together to work for the common good of York and North Yorkshire, including seriously considering appointing a deputy mayor from a different party to his own.

He would also seek to improve Government funding to the area.

He said he would strongly consider a transport reform plan for the area, but wouldn’t commit to definitely implementing it.

“Let others over promise and under deliver,” he said. “I am not going to do that.” He did not say who he was referring to.

Mr Skaith said he would encourage cultural and artistic events as they would bring people into the urban centres for reasons other than to shop.

Both men supported calls to improve the state of the area’s rivers and waterways. Mr Skaith said he would be meeting Yorkshire Water next week.

Talking about water companies generally, Mr Foster said: “I think the whole country has had enough. They didn’t invest, they took the profits and ran away.”

Both men supported the right to protest.

Mr Foster said: “It has to got be safe for the public, safe for the demonstrators and safety, most importantly for the community and the residents.”

Mr Skaith said the deputy mayor, who would have the primary responsibility for policing, should come from a policing background.

The  campaign group  which hosted the meeting only invited candidates they believed to be “progressive” to the meeting which was billed as a “Progressive Conversation”. The only other candidate invited, Felicity Cunliffe-Lister of the Lib Dems, was unable to attend.

The group campaigns for a more equal and democratic society and the end to the first past the post voting system.

The new mayor will take on the responsibilities for the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, a role which will be abolished after May’s election.

The election for the mayoralty takes place on Thursday May 2, the same day as local elections in other parts of England and Wales.

The candidates confirmed so far are Felicity Cunliffe-Lister (Liberal Democrat); Keane Duncan (Conservative); Kevin Foster (Green); Paul Haslam (Independent); David Skaith (Labour Co-op) and Keith Tordoff (Independent).