Burnham chosen as Labour candidate for GM mayor

Andy Burnham
Andy Burnham
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Local MP Andy Burnham has been chosen as the Labour candidate for mayor of Greater Manchester this morning.

The Leigh parliamentary representative and shadow home secretary was announced as the party’s candidate ahead of former minister Ivan Lewis and interim mayor Tony Lloyd.

In a speech following the announcement, Burnham said he would not let the Tory government walk away from the promises it has made to the North.

He 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.

“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.

“Only yesterday, the IPPR revealed that our country spends six times more per person on transport in London than it does on the North. The unfairness is outrageous and cannot continue.

“The longer it does, the more unequal our country becomes. Investing in modern, high-speed rail across the North of England is the country’s single highest transport priority and I will relentlessly press the Government for explicit recognition of that undeniable fact.

“Just over a month ago, when people voted in the Referendum, they told us loud and clear that they want change in our politics.

“They are fed up with an out-of-touch Westminster which has created an unequal country, a housing crisis, sold our young people short and our industry down the river. But since the vote, Westminster has reverted to business-as-usual, showering honours on the political elite.

“I want to assure people that I have heard and understood their call for change in politics and am standing in this election to bring it about. I want to open up politics here and involve people from all walks of life in the work of the Mayor.

“I will be a grassroots Mayor for all of Greater Manchester; for each and every one of its proud towns as well as the city centre. I will give Labour a stronger Northern identity, working every day to close the North-South divide.

“But I won’t be able to do any of it alone. Making Greater Manchester what we all want it to be must be a collective endeavour.

“I will need to draw on all the support I can get from our vibrant voluntary sector and community groups; on the energy and idealism of our young people; and on the expertise of our business community.

“So today I issue an open invitation to people across Greater Manchester: get involved with my campaign and help me bring the change that our politics needs. Let’s show that there is better way than the Tory way, build a Greater Manchester that puts people before profits - a beacon of social justice to the rest.

“Together, we will make Greater Manchester even greater than it is today.”

The mayoral election will take place in 2017 at the same time as scheduled local elections in May.