Labour names West Midlands and Greater Manchester mayor candidates

The Labour Party has today named shadow home secretary Andy Burnham and West Midlands MEP Siôn Simon as its mayoral candidates in Greater Manchester and the West Midlands respectively.

Leigh MP Burnham, who ran for Labour leadership last year and has remained in Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow Cabinet ever since his nomination, won 51% of a vote from party members in the region – significantly over GM’s current interim mayor and police and crime commissioner, Tony Lloyd (29%). Bury South MP Ivan Lewis secured third place with almost 20% of votes.

Noting that it was a “great honour” to be the candidate for the first elected mayor in the region, Burnham said: “I will repay it by devoting all my energy to uniting the Labour family here, working to win back the voters we have lost and building a policy programme with broad appeal. I will bring forward real answers to our housing crisis and give new hope to our young people.

“Today I have a clear message for the prime minister – you and your party were elected on a series of promises to the north of England and I will not let you walk away from them. You promised us a powerhouse and now you must give us the tools and investment to build it.”

In the West Midlands, Simon, who is also a former Birmingham MP, beat his contender Steve Bedser, a former city councillor, by a large margin of 71% of votes.

If elected, he will oversee the new West Midlands Combined Authority – which is currently consulting on the scope of imminent mayoral powers – in order to deliver the region’s major £1bn devolution deal.

“The election is a vital opportunity - amid Tory austerity and Brexit chaos - to bring real Labour government to the West Midlands,” Simon said.

“Let’s really invest in skills and apprenticeships. This region is a world leader in advanced manufacturing; it’s a great creative hub; we’re uniquely placed in biotech with our many great universities and our super-diverse population. We need not just more jobs, but better jobs, and better paid job. And this new devolution is a means to get them.”

He also called for a ‘West Midlands voice’ in Brexit discussions, arguing that Scotland, Wales, London and Ireland can’t be the only “special interests at the table”.

Labour leader Corbyn – who faces his own elections soon after being challenged to the leadership position by rival Owen Smith – congratulated both men on Twitter.

Today’s nominations – which now give both candidates nine months to campaign ahead of May’s elections – make Labour the first mainstream party to put forward names for the mayoral ballot. Both the Conservatives and UKIP have told the BBC they are not far along in the process.


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