AS business leaders meet to hold talks today about the future of regional devolution, Wirral's political leader Phil Davies has come down firmly against the concept of a "metro mayor" for Merseyside.

More than 100 business bosses are expected to meet in Liverpool later aiming to encourage Merseyside's council leaders to push ahead with a devolution deal for the region.

It comes on the day that Greater Manchester's interim metro mayor Tony Lloyd starts his new role.

But Cllr Davies already has made his position clear regarding a metro mayor, claiming it would place too much power in the hands of one person.

The leader of Wirral Council and chairman of Liverpool City Region combined authority said devolution of power to the regions was welcomed.

And if there was no other way of meaningful devolution from Whitehall to Merseyside then it should be for the people of the region to decide on the issue of a metro mayor by way of a referendum.

Writing in the Globe earlier this month, Cllr Davies said: “George Osborne (Chancellor of the Exchequer) points to the Greater Manchester experience as his preferred model. But that model may not work everywhere.

“It is true our city region often looks to Liverpool for sporting, cultural and historical identities. But we also look to Widnes, Seaforth Docks, Halewood, even Manchester and Chester, for work and commercial opportunities.”

He added: “I do not expect overwhelming support for a Liverpool City Region from people living across all six boroughs, even if local more local powers are attractive.

"So surely the benefits of devolution should be available to us irrespective of which model we choose.”

Councillor Davies accused the chancellor of being “strong on headlines but short on substance” following last week’s visit to Manchester to announce plans to devolve more power to the north.

He said: “The chancellor was clear on one point; his promise of greater decision-making in the north – something all parties and politicians say they support – comes with one condition; you must have a directly-elected metro-mayor.”

Councillor Davies insisted that questions needed answering over what powers would switch from Whitehall to Merseyside should devolution take place.

He observed: “How will the metro mayor impact on our ability to provide day-to-day services like children’s centres, elderly care, planning and traffic programmes?

“How does the accountability residents currently enjoy with local councillors and town hall change?

“And what are the long-term plans for northern assemblies and English parliaments lie those in Scotland and Wales?