Lord Smith pipped at the post

Lord Peter Smith
Lord Peter Smith

WIGAN Council leader Lord Peter Smith has been pipped at the post to become Greater Manchester’s interim mayor - a new role created as part of the pioneering Devo Manc deal.

Police commissioner Tony Lloyd, who got the nod, and Lord Smith faced a panel of the region’s local authority leaders at Leigh Sports Village this afternoon (Friday).

Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Lloyd

Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Lloyd

Leader of Manchester City Council Sir Richard Leese said: “The panel thought both candidates were good enough to do the job and it was a very close and difficult decision.”

Sources close to the combined authority suggested Lord Smith was favourite for the role despite Mr Lloyd gaining more support during recent weeks, but it wasn’t to be.

The winner was determined by majority vote with Wigan borough’s vote cast by deputy leader Coun David Molyneux.

At the start of the process, Lord Smith was thought to have the backing of seven or eight of his fellow leaders.

He was seen as a safe pair of hands to oversee the implementation of the Devo Manc agreement until elections for the full mayor role in 2017.

Lord Smith had indicated he would not stand for that role whereas Mr Lloyd is understood to have expressed an interest.

The existing role of the police and crime commissioner (PCC) will be merged with the directly elected mayor’s job in 2017.

Mr Lloyd said he will perform the duties of both the interim mayor and PCC but not draw two salaries.

The interim mayor will not have executive powers but will work alongside the combined authority up until 2017.

The directly-elected mayor will then have new powers in relation to transport, housing, planning and policing but will be required to consult the combined authority cabinet and will require a majority vote to pass any strategic decisions.