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Get to know the Greater Manchester Mayor candidates
Wednesday 26th April 2017 @ 11:52 by Adam Higgins
Greater Manchester News

The official countdown is on for the historic vote of who will become the first elected Mayor of Greater Manchester.

The role has been created as part of Greater Manchester’s pioneering devolution deals, with voters going to the polls on Thursday, May 4, with the count and result declaration taking place on Friday, May 5.

The election of the new Mayor will represent a significant shift in the way Greater Manchester is run and forms part of the devolution deal for Greater Manchester, through which Whitehall is handing powers to the local area.

The powers will be held by the directly-elected mayor who, like the Mayor of London, will be able to represent the region on the international stage.

The Mayor will:

  • have control over new long-term budgets from central government;
  • exercise powers to control local roads, transport investment, strategic planning, improve skills and build new homes;
  • lobby on behalf of their area, on the issues that matter to local people not only in Westminster, but on the world stage;
  • work with local business leaders to achieve what’s best for local jobs and the economy; and
  • capitalise on local strengths and assets like our universities, scientific research and innovation.

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid said: “It’s almost time when residents in Tameside – and across Greater Manchester – have an historic opportunity to shape how the area is run and vote for the region’s first directly-elected mayor.

“But this is not just about voting for another politician – they’re voting to take control of issues that matter to them, whether that’s housing or transport, skills provision or new jobs.”

Eight candidates have put themselves up for the job. Karishma Visram takes a closer look at the candidates who are standing below…

Sean Brian Anstee, The Conservative Party

Sean Anstee is 29 years old and Leader of Trafford Council. He grew up in a council house in Trafford before leaving school at 16 to take up an apprenticeship at Barclays, eventually becoming vice president at Bank of New York Mellon in Manchester. He became leader of Trafford Council in 2014 having been elected as a councillor when he was 20. The region’s youngest council leader, he was one of the 10 local council leaders to agree the devolution deal with the government that made the Mayor election possible. He aims to represent the views of people in the North, says his local links are a strength and wants to give young people the right start in life and end what he calls ‘generations of worklessness.’

Marcus Jonathan Farmer, Independent

Marcus Farmer is a local Manchester based businessman and the managing director of STE Waste. Before starting his own business he worked in accountancy and also ran as an independent candidate for the Manchester Withington constituency in the 2010 and 2015 General Elections. He believes the political leadership presently in Manchester is a ‘political fiasco’ and says he is the best person for the job because he isn’t a politician. His priority would be to attract investment into the area creating better jobs and opportunities for our region and says as a businessman he is best placed to understand this over any of the other candidates. He would like to see buses and trams free at the point of use.

Mohammad Aslam, Independent

Mohammad Aslam is a resident of Salford and the director of a property letting company with many years of business experience. Born in Pakistan, he moved to Manchester 17 years ago. He is passionate about helping the community living in and around the Cheetham Hill area offering support by being their voice in the local mosque. If elected he says he wants to make Manchester a better developed and modern region. He also wants to tackle the problem of homelessness people by getting them off the street. Mr Aslam has also expressed an interest in working to improve the roads in Manchester.

Stephen Morris, English Democrats

Stephen Morris is the English Democrats North West Chairman and Communications Director. He first became involved in politics in 2003 when he was elected Unite Branch Secretary at Metrolink. He says it is time for change and to bring the status quo of the leading political parties to an end, to move Manchester on for the future. He wants to address child poverty, deprivation and homelessness and says only by addressing these issues first will new businesses be attracted to the area. He wants Greater Manchester to become the new ‘Silicon Valley’ of the North West, making Greater Manchester the place to live and where businesses will want to come.

Jane Elisabeth Brophy, Liberal Democrats

Jane Brophy is the only woman standing to be Mayor. She lives in and represents the Timperley Ward in Trafford and has been a councillor for 16 years. She works for the NHS. She has pledged to fight Brexit every step of the way, stating the Mayoral election is not about which party you support, but “who you want at the Brexit table fighting for Greater Manchester’s best interests and our place in Europe.” She is passionate about issues such as public transport, housing, the environment and especially health and integrated care. She is campaigning against the proposals outlined in the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework.

Shneur Zalman Odze, UKIP

Shneur is 35 years old and from Salford. He has previously been a member of the Conservative party and was the Conservative councillor in north London. He has also stood for election to the European Parliament. His campaign to be elected mayor focuses on tackling what he calls everyday issues such as health and particularly social care. He wants to protect the greenbelt from development and put more police back on the streets. He says he will create a council of advisors from many walks of life to represent students and religious groups.

Andy Burnham, Labour and Co-operative Party

Shadow Secretary of State for Health Andy Burnham, also former shadow Secretary of State for Education, says young people are top of his agenda in these elections and he wants to put them at the heart of everything he would do as Mayor. He promises a free bus pass for all 16 to 18 year olds. The MP for Leigh since 2001 says he will focus on integrated social care, create an affordable home building programme, good apprenticeships for all school-leavers and a cycling revolution. He also wants to make Manchester the music capital of Europe and above all “a beacon of social justice to the country.”

Will Patterson, The Green Party

Will Patterson is 33 and the chairman of the Wigan and Leigh Green Party. He is a member of Frack Free Wigan, Leigh and Makerfield, and helped establish Wigan People’s Assembly Against Austerity. If elected he aims to ensure that the devolution Manchester, a concept which he has previously been critical of, is made to work and listen to the needs of ordinary people in the area. He also hopes for a fairer, and greener Greater Manchester and would oppose green belt development and actually look to expand it while also providing more affordable social housing, whilst solving the problems of flooding. He promises to hold citizens’ forums so everyone can build a better Manchester.