THE Green Party has chosen former soldier Kevin Foster as its candidate for the York and North Yorkshire mayoral election next year.

Mr Foster is currently a councillor on North Yorkshire Council and represents the Hipswell and Colburn division in Rishi Sunak’s constituency Richmond.

Before being a councillor he served in the army for 30 years.

Under a £540m devolution deal agreed with the government, the region is set to get a mayor who will lead a new combined authority – with mayoral elections scheduled to take place in May 2024.

Cllr Foster said: “Your mayor cannot wave a magic wand and solve every problem but they can stand up and fight for the issues that matter in this region. In the reserve forces I learned to work with and on behalf of others and I will use this knowledge and experience to do my best for people in this area.

“Being mayor will be my one and only job and I will devote myself to it, representing residents and businesses to the best of my ability”

The new mayor will have £18m a year to spend in North Yorkshire and York, and will take charge of the combined authority that is set to include two councillors each from North Yorkshire Council and City of York Council.

There will be new powers to improve and better integrate local transport, including the ability to introduce bus franchising. More money will also be available to support the building of new homes on brownfield land.

The mayor will also take over the duties currently held by the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Zoe Metcalfe.

The Conservatives have chosen Malton councillor and journalist Keane Duncan, who is in charge of transport on North Yorkshire Council.

Pateley Bridge man Keith Tordoff will stand as an independent after previously announcing he would run for the Yorkshire Party.

Labour and the Liberal Democrats are yet to choose a candidate.