Mansfield’s Conservative MP Ben Bradley says he will contest the seat again at the next General Election
Councillor Bradley (Con), who is also the leader of Nottinghamshire County Council, has again not ruled out running to become the first East Midlands mayor but said he is currently enjoying his dual role.
The £1.14bn devolution deal, signed by the Government and Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire leaders in August, could bring the region’s first elected mayor.
This role would be the accountable person for new powers and funding expected to be handed down from Whitehall to local leaders.
The deal has been confirmed with ministers but is awaiting the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill becoming law in Parliament.
This is expected to happen in the spring and would lead to a ‘shadow combined authority’ being created for the East Midlands in May 2023.
Governance arrangements and policy planning would then be established throughout the following 12 months before an expected mayoral election a year later.
However, this could be delayed if the bill does not pass MPs and the Lords by May next year.
Cllr Bradley has been consistently questioned by opposition councillors about his ambition to become the elected mayor but has repeatedly played down the idea.
The role has been described by him as an “exciting position” but not one he has ever publicly admitted he would take.
But, if the bill passes Parliament on time, the mayoral election may take place on the same day as the expected May 2024 General Election.
This could mean the politician contesting both elections at the same time if he decided to run for mayor.
He said: “From a delivery point of view for constituents, I have always made the case that being here [at the county council] helps us to deliver.
“We’ve seen that in some of the big projects that will impact Mansfield, we’ve seen it in the outcome of highways reviews and being able to drive, from here, on things that are big priorities for my residents.
“That’s been beneficial and there will be some more positive things to prove that point.
“But, in the long-term on a personal level, it’s really difficult for me to say because I don’t know what the circumstances would be.
“As it stands, I will be standing again in Mansfield and that’s my priority but I don’t know what will happen.
“We’ve not got the legislation through for the combined authority yet, we don’t have final, formal confirmation that the mayoral election is 2024 or 2025.
“I’ll take decisions as I go along but I’m enjoying what I’m doing at the minute.”
Cllr Bradley was the first Conservative candidate to retain Mansfield for the Tories during the 2019 General Election, increasing his majority to more than 16,000.
However, he has indicated in the past that he may not run again.
Over the summer, he told former Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero – now a broadcaster with GB News – that his views on the role “depends on the day of the week”.
It followed comments about threats from social media impacting his private life, adding: “I don’t know whether my wife would want me to do it again either, so we’ll see.”
His neighbouring MP Lee Anderson, who succeeded Ms De Piero in 2019 for the Tories, confirmed earlier this month he will contest the seat again.
In a post on social media, he said: “I have told my party I intend to stand at the next election.
“The polls had me in third place last time. Wait for the bogus polls again from the delusional left-wing agitators.”