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Andy Burnham to stand as candidate for mayor of Manchester

Andy Burnham MP, the shadow home secretary, has announced his intention to stand as Labour’s candidate for mayor of Manchester.

Burnham was due to announce his candidacy in a speech at the Lowry in Salford tomorrow, but it was announced prematurely when a campaigning Twitter account, @Andy4Manchester, went live today.

The mayoral election will take place on 4 May 2017 as part of a wider devolution package, with the city gaining power over healthcare last month.

Burnham told the Guardian: “The biggest mistake would be to underplay [English devolution] and to carry on and say: ‘Westminster’s where it’s at, that’s where everything happens and you’re not really a serious politician unless you’re in Westminster.’

“I’m making a break with this thinking by announcing my candidacy for the mayor of Greater Manchester. I think I can do more for the people I care about, here, by being here rather than there, given this change.”

Burnham is also shadow home secretary, a post he was awarded after losing last year’s Labour leadership election to Jeremy Corbyn.

Labour members in Manchester will vote for their candidate this summer, with other potential candidates including the current interim mayor and police and crime commissioner Tony Lloyd and Ivan Lewis, the MP for Bury South.

Burnham added that Labour dismissing the idea of elected mayors because it was “cooked up by Osborne” would be “a real mistake”.

He told the Guardian his programme would include an affordable homebuilding programme, apprenticeships for all school-leavers and a cycling revolution.

Nine out of the 10 Greater Manchester councils are Labour or Labour-dominated, meaning the city is highly likely to elect a Labour mayor, as London, Salford, Bristol and Liverpool did in the recent local elections.

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