UK Politics

Andy Burnham considers Greater Manchester mayor bid

Andy Burnham

Labour's Andy Burnham says he is considering standing to be mayor of Greater Manchester when the position is created in 2017.

The shadow home secretary said he had been approached over the role and would "take soundings" in the coming days to make up his mind.

The Leigh MP and former health secretary plans to remain in the shadow cabinet even if he does run.

He has been defeated in two Labour leadership contests.

George Osborne's "Northern Powerhouse" agenda saw the creation of the new post of Greater Manchester mayor as part of the devolution of extra powers to the region.

'Early days'

Former Labour MP Tony Lloyd is serving as the interim mayor of the combined authority, until next year's first election for the role.

"I had not planned for this to come out at this time," Mr Burnham said, saying it was "very early days".

"I have had people approaching me to consider it, so I have decided to consider it."

He said the creation of a regional mayor was an "important change in British politics", saying the North should have a voice alongside Scotland and Wales.

"I still feel we get treated as second class citizens at times, we do not get the investment that London and the South gets," he said.

'Real loss'

Whoever does run for the job should be "big enough to get that voice heard", he added.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell told Sky News it would be "a real loss to Parliament" if Mr Burnham did run.

Mr McDonnell said he understood why Mr Burnham was approached to run and why he would be tempted, but that he would like him to stay in the shadow cabinet.

"I can see why people in the North are approaching him because he is such a good advocate for the North and he has been a tremendous MP in Parliament," he said.

"If he goes, it would be a real loss to Parliament and a loss to the Labour Party as we go into government in 2020, but I can see why people are approaching him."

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