FORMER Keighley and Ilkley Labour MP John Grogan has thrown his support behind Bradford Council leader Susan Hinchcliffe's bid to become the party's candidate in the West Yorkshire mayoral election.

Mr Grogan said: "I am supporting Susan Hinchcliffe to be Labour’s candidate for West Yorkshire because I think she has the head as well as the heart to do the job well.

"So far there have been nine metro mayors elected across England but not one woman. I think it would be good if we could change this pattern in West Yorkshire, where already three out of five council leaders are female.

"These are tough times for many people and I think Susan has the experience to stand up to the Government where necessary, make difficult decisions where needed and be a champion for West Yorkshire."

Mr Grogan, who is co-chair of the One Yorkshire Committee that brings together leaders to push for a devolution deal for the whole county, added: "It is a great shame that, despite support from all parties in Yorkshire, the Government rejected calls for devolution for the county as a whole at a One Yorkshire level.

"I think that day will still come as, after all, Yorkshire has as big a population as Scotland and it would make for more effective government if we had the ability to take more decisions here rather than taking orders from Whitehall.

"In the meantime, I think we need a strong Mayor like Susan in West Yorkshire or we risk losing out to Manchester, Liverpool and the West Midlands, where elected Mayors are already in place."

Cllr Hinchcliffe has said she intends to continue to lobby the Government for a One Yorkshire deal if she is elected.