Former Cabinet Minister Liam Byrne has announced plans to become Birmingham’s first-elected Mayor.
The MP for Birmingham Hodge Hill is a key member of Ed Miliband’s shadow cabinet team at Westminster, and has been leading the policy review to decide Labour’s manifesto at the next general election.
But Mr Byrne says he will quit his high-profile national role and dedicate himself to leading the second city – if voters say “yes” in a referendum on creating a mayor on May 3.
If elected, he said his priorities would be “jobs, jobs, jobs” and he would get to work encouraging major firms to invest in Birmingham on his first day in the new role.
Mr Byrne said: “Unless the city comes together to get people back to work then Birmingham is not going to be the city I know it can be in the years to come.
“Right now there are only 6,500 vacancies in the job centres – but there are 52,000 people on the dole.
“And we are going to need to create more jobs for the years to come. So jobs will be number one, two and three issue for me.”
If he is selected as the Labour candidate for election, he would need to stand down as MP for Hodge Hill, prompting a by-election in the Birmingham constituency which would probably take place on the same day as the mayoral election, on November 15.