Future city devolution deals may not require the election of a mayor, Downing Street has hinted, after fears were raised of Theresa May abandoning the previous government's desire to pass down power.
A total of 10 city-regions have secured devolution deals so far in talks with the government, and each one has required the adoption of a mayoralty model.
And the process is set to continue next year, with elections expected in Manchester, Liverpool and Sheffield.
However, Downing Street yesterday suggested that areas that did not want an elected mayor would not have one forced on them, saying this did not represent a change in government policy.
“We are taking this forward on a case by case basis, looking at what is right for the area,” a spokeswoman said. “We continue to support devolution and support the deals that are already in place.”
It comes after The Times reported that May was inching away from the devolution agenda, citing fears over granting high-profile roles to Labour MPs.
A spokesman for the Department for Communities and Local Government said: “The government’s position on city devolution has not changed and we support the devolution deals already in place.
“We will continue to work closely with local areas and remain open to discussion on any devolution proposals that include strong, accountable governance and clear accountability. This includes directly elected mayors.
“This government is committed to regional development and supporting growth up and down the country as we build an economy that works for everyone.”