Manchester

Andy Burnham selected as Labour candidate for Manchester mayor

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Media captionAndy Burnham wins Labour nomination for mayor

Shadow Home Secretary Andy Burnham has won the contest to become Labour's candidate for Greater Manchester's first mayoral election next May.

He beat Bury South MP Ivan Lewis and interim mayor Tony Lloyd after a vote by local party members closed on Friday.

He said it was "a great honour".

Labour has also confirmed its candidate for the contest in the West Midlands. It will reveal the Liverpool City Region candidate on Wednesday.

Mr Burnham was born in Liverpool and has been MP for Leigh, Greater Manchester since 2001.

He served in the Tony Blair and Gordon Brown governments, holding the posts of culture secretary and health secretary.

The Everton supporter also won praise for his work on the campaign for justice following the 1989 Hillsborough disaster.


Analysis: Political Correspondent Iain Watson

Andy Burnham has called for the government to give him the tools to build a Northern Powerhouse and is robustly demanding improvements to public transport and social care provision. You might think he is getting ahead of himself, considering he has only won Labour's nomination for Greater Manchester mayor - he hasn't actually got the job.

There is a small matter of the actual election to this new post next May. But with only one council in the conurbation controlled by the Conservatives, he is odds-on favourite to win. He has said he will resign as an MP if he does so.

But it is interesting that in a more pressing contest - one that could determine the whole future of his party - he apparently doesn't have a view. At least not publicly. He was asked who he was supporting in the Labour leadership contest and he said he was remaining 'neutral' having done all he could to avert it.

It is thought that more of Jeremy Corbyn's backers supported Tony Lloyd, but by refusing to join anti-Corbyn colleagues in resigning from the shadow cabinet Andy Burnham certainly didn't alienate them.

A better test of the current leader's grassroots support will come tomorrow when his parliamentary aide Steve Rotheram will compete for the Labour nomination for what is in effect Mayor of the Merseyside (or 'Liverpool City Region') against Luciana Berger - who did resign as a shadow minister - and the current mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson.


He told the government he would ensure it follows through on its promise of a "Northern Powerhouse" if he wins the 2017 election.

Mr Burnham said: "To be selected as Labour's candidate for the first elected mayor of Greater Manchester is a great honour and I thank our members for the faith they have shown in me.

"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."

Image copyright BBC/Reuters
Image caption Andy Burnham beat Bury South MP Ivan Lewis (left) and interim mayor Tony Lloyd after a vote by local party members closed on Friday

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn congratulated Mr Burnham, saying it would be "crucial that we have a mayor willing to do everything possible to improve the lives of everyone in Greater Manchester and in Andy we have that candidate".

Mr Burnham won the contest among party members with 3,792 votes to Mr Lloyd's 2,163 and Mr Lewis's 1,472, on a turnout of 65.3%.

Despite the turmoil at the top of Labour, and the growth in support for UKIP, the party still dominates Greater Manchester and the Leigh MP is in poll position to become the first mayor, BBC Radio Manchester Political Reporter Kevin Fitzpatrick said.

"Other parties have yet to announce when they will choose their candidate, let alone who it will be, and that means Mr Burnham has another advantage - a head start in shaping his vision for how he would lead Greater Manchester as mayor," he added.

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