WIRRAL could be on course to be governed by a Merseyside Mayor after the Chancellor set out his stall for regional devolution yesterday.

George Osborne promised a "revolution" in the way England is governed, with elected mayors presiding over far greater powers in major cities.

The Chancellor used his first speech of the new parliament to extend his "Northern Powerhouse" vision, calling on other urban areas to follow the example of Greater Manchester in taking advantage of new powers.

His words have gone down like a lead balloon at Wirral Council, whose leader said Mr Osborne has failed to understand how highly local people value the peninsula's independence from Liverpool.

Councillor Phil Davies, who is also chairman of Merseyside "super cabinet" - the Combined Regional Authority - said he felt "angry and disappointed."

"This one-size-fits-all approach is the wrong way to bring about the change Mr Osborne wants," he said.

"I'm not a great fan of an elected mayor, but I absolutely believe in devolving powers away from Whitehall.

"Saying the mayor approach is the only game in town flies in the face of their much-vaunted 'Localism' agenda.

"What works for Manchester will not necessarily work for Wirral. So why impose the Manchester model on  us?

"The Chancellor has underestimated the intense sense of local pride people have in their borough and how highly they value their independence from Liverpool."

He said he believes there should be a Merseyside referendum so the people can decide.

In a speech in Manchester, Mr Osborne said the new powers would only be available to cities which agreed to an elected mayor to act as a central figure who "carries the can" for decisions.

He said Manchester, where powers including transport and health are being devolved, was an example of what was on offer.

He said: "We all know that the old model of trying to run everything in our country from the centre of London is broken. It has led to an unbalanced economy; it has made people feel remote from the decisions that affect their lives.

Mr Osborne said there was a "once in a lifetime" opportunity for change in the way the country was run with "radical devolution to the great cities of England".

Manchester is the first city set to benefit from extra powers, with plans for an elected "metro mayor" for the whole of the Greater Manchester region, and Mr Osborne encouraged other areas to follow.

Mr Osborne said: "Here's the deal: we will hand power from the centre to cities to give you greater control over your local transport, your housing, your skills, your healthcare and we will give you the levers you need to grow your local economy and make sure that local people keep the rewards.

"But it's right that people have a single point of accountability, someone they elect, who takes the decisions and who carries the can.

"So with these new powers for cities must come new city-wide elected mayors who work with local councils.

"London has a mayor, Greater Manchester has agreed to have a mayor as part of our Northern Powerhouse.

"This new law, at the heart of the Queen's Speech, will make that happen.

"I will not impose a mayor on anyone but nor will I settle for less.

"My door is open to any other major city who wants to take this bold step into the future.

"This is a revolution in the way that we govern England, it is power to the working people of our country and it means a stronger democracy and greater prosperity for all."