Andy Burnham elected as Mayor of Greater Manchester
Friday 5th May 2017 @ 18:55 by Tom Greggan

Labour’s Andy Burnham has become the first ever elected Mayor of Greater Manchester after defeating seven other candidates in a landslide victory.

The former Leigh MP received 63.4% of the vote. The Conservative candidate, Sean Anstee, came second on 22.7%.

Burnham was victorious in all ten boroughs of Greater Manchester, including Trafford where Anstee is the leader of the council. Results in Tameside closely reflected the bigger picture; Burnham won 61.97% of the vote with Anstee second on 23.9%.

Tameside’s votes are counted at Manchester Central

Speaking to the Tameside Reporter minutes after the results had been announced, Burnham thanked those who voted and expressed surprise at the size of his win. “I feel humbled and so grateful to the public of Greater Manchester,” he said. “They’ve given me an incredible privilege to be the first elected Mayor for Greater Manchester and I can say back to them, I will give them my all.

“I wasn’t necessarily expecting such a big margin of victory and that is why I am humbled by the vote in many ways. I’m just grateful that the public of Greater Manchester have given me their trust. It is a big responsibility and I intend not to let them down.”

And the new mayor reserved special praise for Andrew Gwynne who chaired his campaign. “Andrew is one of the best,” he said. “I hope the people of Denton and Reddish know they’ve got one of those rare people in life, but particularly in politics. He is someone who is decent, loyal and totally in it for the right reasons. I was so lucky that Andrew chaired my campaign and as you can see, he’s done an outstanding job for me.”

Andrew Gwynne, head of Andy Burnham’s Campaign team, before the announcement

Gwynne himself was obviously delighted with the results and said it gives the local Labour party momentum heading into next month’s general election. He said: “Of course, it’s very optimistic for those of us that are standing in the general election on 8th June that here in Greater Manchester, in all ten boroughs, the Labour party won the popular vote. That includes Tory Trafford, where the Conservative candidate is the leader of the council but Labour topped the poll. It also includes parts of Stockport where the Labour party has never done particularly well.

“These are great results,” he continued. “They put a spring in our step for the general election but we take nothing for granted. We’ve got to get out there and convince people that we don’t just need transformational politics in this city region, we also need transformational politics in the whole of the United Kingdom.”

Gwynne also addressed concerns about poor voter turnout. The figure for Tameside was just 26%, down 6% on last year’s local council elections, while the overall turnout for Greater Manchester was 28.6%. But Gwynne expressed optimism that that number will increase in future elections. He said: “This is a new role. A lot of people didn’t understand what the role entailed or what it meant. There was a lot of confusion because there were referendums in parts of Greater Manchester for local mayors.

“This was also the trend in London. In the first mayoral election in London, the turnout was much lower than in subsequent elections when people knew what the mayoralty of London was all about.”

Leader of Tameside Conservatives John Bell talks to the Tameside Reporter

Meanwhile, runner-up Sean Anstee reflected on a disappointing set of results, including a heavy defeat in his home borough of Trafford where he is the leader of the council, but remained proud of his campaign. “I think the electorate of Greater Manchester have given a very clear result to support Andy as mayor,” he said. “I’m very proud of the campaign I’ve fought; To get over 128,000 people voting for me and to come second in each of the boroughs of Greater Manchester. To actually try and say to people that in a city region that is dominated by a single political party, to get so many people to vote- and many for the first time- to vote Conservative, I’m really proud to have been able to do that.

He disagreed with Andrew Gwynne’s sentiments that the mayoral election results could influence next month’s general election. Sean said: “I think the general election will be different. People will clearly vote differently in local, mayoral and general elections, we’ve seen that over many years, it’s not a new concept. I think the Conservative party is saying that there are many reasons why we want to see a majority Conservative government. I will do my best to try and make sure that happens and try and see Conservative MPs across Greater Manchester elected.”

Andy Burnham is hugged by former Tameside GP Dr Kailash Chand before the announcement

While Andy Burnham admitted he’ll enjoy a beer or two with his family tonight, after a year of campaigning, he’s already got eyes on his first day in office. He made homelessness the centre of his election campaign and promised to prioritise it on day one. He said: “People want something done and I will lead from the front. I will commit to donating part of my mayoral salary to start a new fund to tackle homelessness and I will start that job on day one.

“People here don’t want to see people huddled in doorways, they something better done and something will be done. I give people my word about that, we’ll start straight away.”

Burnham has previously pledged to donate 15% of his £110,000 a year salary to eradicating homelessness by 2020.

In his role as mayor, he will have power over the area’s housing policy as well as it’s transport. It’s believed Burnham will attempt to overhaul Greater Manchester’s buses and introduce an oyster card-style system on all transport. He will also absorb the roles of Police and Crime Commissioner and Chair of the Fire Authority, meaning he’ll have power over the police and fire service’s budget. Burnham will also sit on the board of the new, devolved health and social care board but he won’t have direct powers in this area. Overall, the new mayor will be in charge of around £900m.

Andy Burnham speaks to the Tameside Reporter

Results- Tameside

Andy Burnham (Labour) 27,109 62%
Sean Anstee (Conservative) 10,486 24%
Jane Brophy (Liberal Democrat) 1,774 4%
Stephen Morris (English Democrat) 1,201 3%
Shneur Odze (UKIP) 1,033 2.5%
Will Patterson (Green Party) 959 2%
Marcus Farmer (Independent) 342 1%
Mohammed Aslam (Independent) 278 0.5%


Results- Greater Manchester

Andy Burnham (Labour) 359,352 63%
Sean Anstee (Conservative) 128,752 22.5%
Jane Brophy (Liberal Democrat) 34,334 6%
Stephen Morris (English Democrat) 15,115 3%
Will Patterson (Green Party) 13,424 2%
Shneur Odze (UKIP) 10,583 2%
Mohammed Aslam (Independent) 5,815 1%
Marcus Farmer (Independent) 3,360 0.5%