Council leader’s bid for mayoral role

Leader of Wigan Council, Lord Smith
Leader of Wigan Council, Lord Smith

LORD Smith has confirmed he has applied to be Greater Manchester’s interim mayor and will go head to head with police commissioner Tony Lloyd.

The Wigan Council leader has been tipped to be a favourite for the role, which precedes the first directly elected mayor in the region and part of the pioneering Devo Manc agreement.

I am standing for the role on my record in local government

Lord Smith

The successful candidate will be chosen by representatives of the GM combined authority, of which Lord Smith is the chair.

Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Lloyd has also confirmed he is standing for the role.

Lord Smith said it was business as usual despite his bid for the new position: “I am standing for the role on my record in local government and my experience as Chair of AGMA/GMCA.

“I will not be holding press conferences on public premises and at public expense to promote my personal candidature. I have worked with colleagues for a number of years that I don’t think I need to use the media to publicise myself. “Tomorrow I shall be chairing a meeting to promote health devolution in Greater Manchester which is such an important prize for the people of Greater Manchester.”

Wigan Today understands Lord Smith is the favoured choice for a majority of the 10 local authority leaders sitting on the combined authority board.

And only two applications for the interim mayor role have been received.

Confirming his application in a statement yesterday, PCC Tony Lloyd said: “We have to ensure that the public do not see this as simply another layer of politicians but as a new voice for them in Greater Manchester and making the case for Greater Manchester at the national level.

“This change is not about pushing power upwards but about powers coming to us from central Government and from Greater Manchester to the 10 local councils.”