Andy Burnham has been selected as the Labour Party candidate for mayor of Greater Manchester. If elected, the shadow home secretary and MP for Leigh will have control of transport, social care, housing and police budgets in the area.
With a population of 3.5m , Greater Manchester covers Bolton, Bury, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford and Wigan. The mayor will have access to a £6 billion health and social care budget and a £900 million, 30-year investment fund.
The creation of elected mayors, part of former chancellor George Osborne’s devolution agenda, was agreed by council leaders in 2014.
Although he is not a Co-op Party MP, Mr Burnham has pledged that the region will have a minister for co-ops and mutualism and was involved in establishing Supporters Direct, which helps fans to set up democratic co-operatives – or supporters’ trusts – to gain influence in the running and ownership of their clubs.
His main rival in the election was Tony Lloyd, Greater Manchester’s police and crime commissioner who has been acting as Manchester’s interim mayor since June 2015. Mr Lloyd had been backed by local Co-operative Party members for the candidacy.
From May 2017, the role of the police and crime commissioner will be merged with the new elected mayor for the region.
Mr Burnham also beat Ivan Lewis, MP for Bury South; all three candidates had pledged a minister for co-ops and mutualism in Greater Manchester, at a hustings for local Co-op Party members held in June.
To be eligible to vote, Labour members had to live in the city region and have been a party member since 19 July 2015. The election was based on the alternative vote system and members were able to vote via post and online.
Mr Burnham was also a candidate in last year’s Labour leadership race when he came second, with 19% of the vote, behind Jeremy Corbyn.
During the race, Mr Burnham voiced his support for what “mutual support and collectivism could bring in the modern world”. He said: “Communities should have stronger powers to buy the properties and restore and regenerate them” and bsuinesses should look at “models of shared ownership and profit-share schemes.”
He added: “For co-operative ideals to flourish, we have to be louder and prouder of the achievements that we have already made, and bolder about what we can achieve in the future.”