Andy Burnham will be Labour’s leadership candidate for the Manchester mayoral elections, the party revealed.
It is a long-awaited boost for the shadow home secretary, who lost to Jeremy Corbyn in the Labour leadership contest last year, despite an attempt to capture the left-wing vote. He trounced fellow MP Ivan Lewis, and Manchester’s current police and crime commissioner, Tony Lloyd in a landslide victory.
Burnham received 3,792 votes, compared to 2,163 for Lloyd and 1,472 for Lewis.
Corbyn congratulated Burnham on his win, tweeting: “It’s crucial we have a Mayor who will improve the lives of everyone in Greater Manchester, and in @andyburnhammp we have that candidate.”
It’s crucial we have a Mayor who will improve the lives of everyone in Greater Manchester, and in @andyburnhammp we have that candidate.
— Jeremy Corbyn MP (@jeremycorbyn) August 9, 2016
The Labour leadership challenger, Owen Smith, also congratulated Burnham, tweeting: “He will be a fantastic Mayor for a great city.”
Burnham’s campaign manager, the MP Andrew Gwynne, tweeted: “Gwynning here.”
Big congratulations to @andyburnhammp – Labour’s Candidate for Greater Manchester Mayor next May. #GwynningHere pic.twitter.com/CyBWxA4Osp
— Andrew Gwynne MP (@GwynneMP) August 9, 2016
Burnham is expected to resign from the shadow Cabinet after the Labour leadership election, although The Staggers understands a resignation is not imminent. If he wins the top job, he will also be expected to resign from his job as an MP.
In Liverpool, Walton MP Steve Rotheram, the current Liverpool mayor Joe Anderson and former shadow minister for mental health Luciana Berger are awaiting the results of their nomination process.
With no sign of a snap election, the May 2017 mayoral elections are Labour’s biggest chance to seize power in the coming years. The new metro mayors will have sweeping powers to change policy across the whole metropolitan area. Labour already has one such mayor – London’s Sadiq Khan, whose calm manner has provided an antidote to the deep emotions dividing the party since Brexit.
Burnham may have been the most famous name in the Manchester race, but voters on the streets were clear they expect the election to be won on policy. Burnham has pledged to invest in east-west transport links and to better integrate health and social care.