Steve Rotheram beat Joe Anderson, the current Mayor of Liverpool and as of Friday ex-chair of the combined authority, for the Labour candidacy, and the two have had spats in the past. Given that Anderson failed to replace Rotheram as MP for Walton (losing to Daniel Carden, previously an aide of Len McLuskey), this tension will need to be overcome. Rotheram is close to Andy Burnham and has talked of a ‘North-West’ powerhouse, ending the rivalry between Liverpool and Manchester.
Facing some of the worst council and public sector cuts in the country, Anderson described 2017 as ‘looking over the abyss’ for Liverpool. It is also one of the biggest recipients of EU funding – and while its devolution investment fund will go some way to addressing these losses, Rotheram, who has no ministerial experience, has a serious challenge. For the Government to agree on further devolution Liverpool City Region he may well want to follow Anderson’s footsteps and avoid 1980s style conflict with central Government.