Former soldier had faced sustained criticism for undertaking full-time role while also remaining an MP
The one-time soldier, who is also MP for Barnsley Central, said serving in the roll had been an “extraordinary privilege” but he would not seek re-election in May.
The announcement raises the possibility of an unpredictable contest in a region which, though staunchly Labour, surprised commentators by returning a trio of Tory MPs at the 2019 general election. It was – and remains – avowedly pro-Brexit.
In a video announcing his decision released on Monday, Mr Jarvis said: “We now need someone to build on our achievements and drive us forward over the next four years.
“That person will not be me. I won’t be standing as Mayor again next May, but in the meantime I will continue to give 110 per cent to the role.”
He said that he was making the announcement early in order to give a new candidate “sufficient notice to step forward”.
Sir Keir Starmer paid tribute by saying Mr Jarvis had achieved a great deal as mayor.
“He’s shown what can be done when Labour is in power, putting Labour values into action,” the party leader tweeted. “I’m pleased that he’ll continue as an MP representing and championing the people of Barnsley.”
Yet Mr Jarvis’s four years in the post have not always run smoothly.
For the first two years of his tenure, Mr Jarvis had neither any real powers nor any budget with a full devolution deal not agreed until 2020.
Even today, the geography of the post remains a mystery to many. Up until this month, the authority he leads was known as the Sheffield City Region Mayoral Combined Authority, a geographic title that incorporates parts of North Derbyshire and North Nottinghamshire. Just this week, however, that title appears to have been quietly shrunk to become the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority. It is unclear why the change of name took place.
Pertinently, too, many remain critical of Mr Jarvis himself for remaining as an MP while serving as mayor wondering how one man could possibly do two full time jobs.
In a reference to that controversy on Monday, Mr Jarvis tweeted: “I said from the beginning that being a Mayor and an MP wasn’t a long-term arrangement. And I meant it. I honestly don’t believe we would have made the progress we have, and we certainly wouldn’t have got the devolution deal over the line, if I had not stayed in parliament.”