THE campaign of one of the candidates to be the new mayor of York and North Yorkshire has been given a boost by a big political hitter from the north west.

York businessman David Skaith is standing for Labour as a candidate in the upcoming election on May 2.

David owns Winstons of York clothing retailer and until December last year was chair of York High Street Forum and was previously secretary of Indie York.

At the weekend he welcomed Andy Burnham the current Mayor of Greater Manchester to the city to discuss policy and show him what York and North Yorkshire have to offer.

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Andy has served as Mayor of Greater Manchester since 2017 and before that served in Gordon Brown's Cabinet as Chief Secretary to the Treasury from 2007 to 2008, Culture Secretary from 2008 to 2009 and Health Secretary from 2009 to 2010.

"It was a pleasure to welcome Andy to York and to continue talks on how as mayors we can work collectively to achieve great success for both our regions" said David.

"From transport, housing to adult education, I look forward to working with Andy and bringing a fresh start to York & North Yorkshire.

"This is a brand new role here, we obviously don't have a previous administration to take over from which is really exciting, but we don't know what the full capabilities are until we get going.

"It really is going to be about collective working on things like transport, housing and growing our economy. That is the great power of the mayor, having the door open to as many organisations as possible to really find a common goal and lean on other mayors in Yorkshire - Tracy Brabin in West Yorkshire and Oliver Coppard in South Yorkshire.

"When you have got three mayors speaking for the entire region we will have a collective."

Mr Skaith said that the mayors will be able to work together on joined up transport policies with a view to making public transport better, cheaper and more reliable across the entire region.

"If we join up the north on transport in particular it will be a real strength," said David.

"There is going to be a General Election this year and a Labour government as a result, so having a direct link into the Government as a spokesperson for York and North Yorkshire is going to be a huge advantage for us."

Voters are being urged to take part in York and North Yorkshire’s first mayoral election on Thursday, May 2.

City of York Council and North Yorkshire Council will be running the elections in the two local authority areas.

Polls cards are being sent to more than 600,000 voters in York and North Yorkshire ahead of the election, North Yorkshire Council said.

The deadline for registering to vote in person is midnight on Tuesday, April 16.

The candidates for regional mayor so far are:

Conservative Party – Keane Duncan

Green Party – Kevin Foster

Independent - Paul Haslam 

Independent – Keith Tordoff

Labour Party – David Skaith

Liberal Democrats – Felicity Cunliffe-Lister

Reform UK has previously said that it will not field a candidate in York and North Yorkshire’s mayoral election.