Liverpool

Luciana Berger vows to be Liverpool City Region's 'listening Metro Mayor'

Luciana Berger Image copyright PA/Gareth Fuller
Image caption Ms Berger promised "total commitment" to making the region "the best place in the world to live"

Luciana Berger has vowed to be "a listening mayor" as she launched her campaign to take charge of the Liverpool City Region.

Launching her manifesto, the Liverpool Wavertree MP also promised to campaign to scrap Mersey tunnel tolls.

Labour's candidate will be chosen later this year, with Ms Berger competing against Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson and Liverpool Walton MP Steve Rotheram.

The date for the Metro Mayor election has been set for 4 May 2017.

Ms Berger, who stepped down as shadow minister for mental health on Monday as protests against Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn intensified, has been MP for Wavertree since 2010.

'New energy'

She pledged to introduce not-for profit buses, smart ticketing and season tickets for part-time workers.

She also committed to provide a region-wide breakfast and school holiday club to "tackle the underlying root causes of inequalities... so the next generation gets the best start in life."

Describing plans to run a monthly "Luciana Listens" radio phone-in and host Facebook forums, Ms Berger said the EU referendum result "shows that we must listen to people when they say they are not being heard."

She said Brexit could "hit our region hard" and vowed to bring the region back together after a "difficult and divisive EU campaign", saying "we need new ideas, new leadership and new energy."

Ms Berger said she wants to be a "global ambassador" to "improve our relationships not only with our European neighbours but further afield" in order to bring the investment "that we desperately need" into the region.

Image caption The devolution deal secures nearly £1bn of extra funding over the next 30 years

The Liverpool City Region covers five Merseyside councils - Liverpool, St Helens, Knowsley, Sefton and Wirral - as well as Halton in Cheshire.

All six councils agreed a devolution agreement in November that will give the city region direct control over £30m a year in investment for the next three decades.

The Metro Mayor will oversee decisions on four key policy areas - economic development, transport, employment and skills, and planning for development.

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