Political figures on collision course

Lisa Nandy MP
Lisa Nandy MP

TWO of Wigan’s leading political figures are on a collision course over the unelected mayor role for Greater Manchester.

The latest spat between council leader Lord Smith and MP Lisa Nandy comes as reports suggest an election for the region’s first mayor may be put back from 2017 to 2019.

Four years potentially before anyone gets a say over who gets to take those decisions is absolutely ridiculous and shows utter contempt

Lisa Nandy MP

This would mean the unelected interim mayor – a role Lord Smith is hotly tipped for – would be in power for four years.

Ms Nandy has hit out at the devolution arrangement, claiming it has bypassed any form of public consultation and shown “a complete and utter lack of respect” to the public.

The comments have put the MP at loggerheads with Lord Smith who has played a key role in negotiating the Devo Manc agreement.

Ms Nandy said: “We should have and we deserve direct elections if people are going to make decisions that affect our lives and particularly if we are going to concentrate that power in the hands of one individual.

“Four years potentially before anyone gets a say over who gets to take those decisions is absolutely ridiculous and shows utter contempt.

“I can understand why this looks like a conversation between national and regional politicians of which the public has been cut out.”

In response to Ms Nandy’s latest comments, Lord Smith told the Evening Post: “The changes being offered to Greater Manchester to have more control over essential services like health and skills will have huge gains for the public. At the moment these services are in hands of unelected quangos and civil servants based in London, in future the public will have more influence through their elected councillors.

“All the elected Greater Manchester leaders believe that more powers to Greater Manchester is long overdue.”