Manchester, News

Andy Burnham in Landslide Win

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By Sam Gosling

After the city’s residents voted last week, Greater Manchester now has a new Mayor. Andy Burnham won the vote in a remarkable landslide win that nobody predicted.

Winning 63% of the overall vote a delighted Burnham addressed the crowd at the count, giving a passionate speech about Greater Manchester and how this is “the start of a new day for the city.”

In a bad day for the Labour Party nationally, when they lost over 380 councillors, the win was a much-needed morale boost for party supporters ahead of a General Election that, if the media is to be believed, will end in devastation for the party.

Burnham used his speech to vow to tackle homelessness in the city and attacked Prime Minister Teresa May for not doing anything about it. He labelled it “a disgrace” that nothing had been done and vowed to end homelessness and provide shelter for everyone in Manchester by 2020: “I have got a big job to do and I won’t let you down.”

The former cabinet minister took 63% of the vote 359,352 votes, quite a distance ahead of nearest rival, Conservative Council Leader Sean Anstee, who won 128,752 votes. All ten boroughs of Greater Manchester declared Burnham their winner and it was clear early on that he was going to win the election in the first round.

Although the result was not a surprise, in an area that Labour leads 9 out of 10 councils, the scale of the victory was unexpected. Colleagues and friends of the new Mayor have said it was down to Andy Burnham and his name recognition. Stalybridge and Hyde MP Jonathan Reynolds said of the result: “It’s a great result for the Greater Manchester Labour family. It is because we work harder than everybody else and Andy Burnham was the right candidate. He will do very well. He understands the area, not just the city centre but the whole region. He will work very hard he has the right things in place to do the job and what he said today makes it very clear he is going to deliver for us.”

Wasting no time, Burnham has already appointed his two deputies. Manchester City council leader, Sir Richard Lees has been appointed as the deputy for business and the economy and Baroness Beverley Hughes for policing and crime.

The new Mayor has certainly hit the ground running and time will tell whether the role will be backed up by the budget from central government. For the Labour Party, however, this was certainly a welcome win at a time where they are few and far between.

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