Could an MP be an elected mayor too? MP puts her name forward for Cambridgeshire role
- Credit: PA
A Conservative MP will fight to be the mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough in elections due to be held next year.
In a surprise move Heidi Allen said she would put her name forward for the Conservative nomination in the 2017 contest.
Cambridgeshire County Council and Cambridge City Council gave the green light to the single county deal after a three-county Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire plan fell through earlier this year.
Cambridge City Council - which had initially rejected devolution plans - fell behind the plan after the government agreed to give the city £70m over five years for a Cambridge Housing Plan, which will be spent on 500 new council homes.
The rest of the area will also get £100m for an affordable housing fund over five years and a new £20m annual fund for the next 30 years to support economic growth, development of local transport infrastructure and jobs.
Mrs Allen, the MP for South Cambridgeshire, wants to combine the role with her current position and said she would give a significant proportion of any mayoral allowance to charity.
In a statement today, she said: 'There is no doubt Cambridgeshire is a fantastic place to live and work, but it needs a strategic and joined up approach to deal with the challenges it faces. I am aware that although residents and businesses across the county recognise this, I also know many are worried this devolution deal will create another layer of bureaucracy.
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'Because pressures on infrastructure and the affordability of housing are issues facing not only my constituency but the county as a whole, I believe I could offer the region a strong, coordinated voice.
'As the Westminster representative for one of the highest growth areas in the devolution region, and being someone who has direct access to ministers and decision makers, I believe I am uniquely placed to fill the mayoral role. This is coupled with my experience in both the public and private sectors, as well as managing multi-million pound budgets.
'The position of Mayor is not about party politics – it is about harnessing the wide range of skills, expertise and ideas that exist, regardless of political persuasion. It is about creating and protecting jobs, it's about ensuring we have enough homes for people to live in and it's about spending the budget in the best and most cost effective way. The role of Mayor must always put the needs of the people of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough first.'