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Oliver Coppard selected as Labour candidate for South Yorkshire Mayor

Election veteran from Sheffield beats three other candidates to secure the nomination ahead of 5 May.

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Oliver Coppard.

Oliver Coppard has won an internal election to decide the Labour Party's candidate for Mayor of South Yorkshire ahead of elections on 5 May.

Coppard, who took on Nick Clegg for the Sheffield Hallam seat at the 2015 general election, is widely seen as closer to the politics of the current Labour leadership than his main rival Lewis Dagnall.

Like the other three candidates Coppard supports bringing the region's buses back under public control, but has stopped short of committing to full public ownership.

Coppard has also backed a Community Wealth Building policy, which would aim to keep money in the local economy by favouring South Yorkshire businesses in public procurement.

He's also said he wants to plant 1.4 million more trees (one for every person in South Yorkshire) and said he will be "the most transparent and accountable mayor in the country."

Reacting to the news, Coppard said he was "both proud and grateful to have been selected" by Labour Party members.

“Our campaign has been built around a simple but urgent hope; that together we can rebuild the pride, purpose and prosperity of South Yorkshire. Every vote cast in support of my selection was a silent instruction to pursue that ambition; to reclaim a more optimistic and hopeful future for everybody that lives here.

“That’s why over the coming weeks and months we will be building a campaign that makes the case for the change, investment and powers we need to overcome the challenges we face, and to realise the potential and ambition of the people of Barnsley, Rotherham, Doncaster and Sheffield.

“I put myself forward to be the Labour Party’s candidate for Mayor so I could fight for a more hopeful future for our region, the place I’m proud to call my home. Now I intend to earn the trust of people and communities of South Yorkshire, so we can begin to build that brighter future together.”

The Labour candidate is likely to win the election on 5 May, which uses a more democratic voting system than Westminster elections – in 2018 Labour candidate Dan Jarvis won 74% of the vote.

The Green Party announced their transport-focused candidate Bex Whyman yesterday, while the Yorkshire Party are putting up local businessman Simon Biltcliffe. The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have not yet selected their candidates.

by Sam Gregory (he/him)

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