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The Greater Manchester Mayoral Election: A Breakdown

As we enter into the New Year, we are faced with a plethora of elections in the UK in the coming months. One of these is the Greater Manchester mayoral elections, taking place on the 6th of May 2021. This election will decide who chairs the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and will give national representation to Manchester for the next 3 years.

Mayor of Greater Manchester

The position was created in 2016 by the Cities and Local Government Devolution Act and saw the first election take place in 2017. The position is designed to devolve power from Westminster and distribute it to local regions. The Manchester mayor has power over:

  • Health

  • Housing

  • Planning

  • Justice

  • Transport

  • Policing and Fire service

  • Waste Management

  • Skills

In these areas, the Mayor can influence policy decisions as well as set the budgets. The mayor also represents the greater Manchester area on a national level. This was demonstrated by the current mayor Andy Burnham and his negotiations with the Government on financial assistance to aid Manchester as it was set to see higher Covid-19 restrictions.

Current mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, Labour and Co-operative Party

Election System

The election uses the Supplementary Vote system (SV). This system produces a single winner. Voters are given a first and second preference choice; if one candidate receives over 50% of the first preference votes, then they are declared the winner. However, if no candidate gets over this threshold then all but the top two candidates are eliminated, and the second preference votes are counted. The second preference votes for the top two candidates are added to their respective scores and whoever receives the most votes after this is elected to the position.

Previous Election

At the previous election in 2017, the labour candidate Andy Burnham won the mayor position, with a convincing 63.4% of the vote, winning in all 10 metropolitan districts of Greater Manchester. This was a big enough margin to call the election based on first preference votes alone - demonstrating Labour’s dominance in the area. The Conservative Party achieved the second-largest vote share but at just 22.7% there was a large gap to challenge Labour's dominance in the City and its surrounding area. Overall turnout for this election stood at 28.9%.

Previous Election Results

Andy Burnham Labour and Co-operative 359,352 63.41% Elected after first round

Sean Anstee Conservative Party 128,752 22.7% Jane Brophy The Liberal Democrats 34,334 6.06% Will Patterson The Green Party 13,424 2.37% Stephen Morris English Democrats 11,114 1.96% Shneur Odze UKIP 10,583 1.87% Mohammad Aslam Independent 5,815 1.03% Marcus Farmer Independent 3,360 0.59%

Current Candidates

Andy Burnham (Labour and Co-operative Party) is running for re-election. With a strong victory last time around and with Greater Manchester being a strong area for Labour it looks like Andy Burnham has good chances of another term. Here are a couple of his pledges for the upcoming election:

  • Return the bus service of Greater Manchester to public ownership

  • Make the city carbon neutral by 2038

Laura Evans (Conservative Party) is a former Trafford councillor and parliamentary candidate. One of her core policies is to:

  • Help smaller business receive additional funding in response to COVID-19

  • Aimed specifically at small and micro businesses who were not eligible for the Small Business Grant Fund or the Retail, Leisure and Hospitality Grant

Michael Eston’s (Independent) primary goal is to address the issues of civil penalties and what he sees as a lack of justice in the courts. Here are two of his many policies:

  • Rescind all fines issued against residents of Greater Manchester

  • Prohibit bailiffs from operating in Greater Manchester

Melanie Horrocks (The Green Party) ran for Parliament in Manchester Central. She has not yet published her manifesto.

The Liberal Democrats are still without a candidate after Andy Kelly stood down due to the delay of the election. Once the Liberal Democrats have announced a candidate, we will keep you informed.

With local issues at the heart of these elections, independent candidates and smaller parties shouldn’t be underestimated as they may be able to capture the wider mood of the Manchester people.

Participation is typically low in these kinds of local elections, however, we at The Youth Vote want to change that. We would like to encourage young people in the Greater Manchester area to engage with politics and to participate in this upcoming mayoral election on the 6th of May 2021. Local politics has a direct impact on young people’s lives so if you want to have your voice heard then register to vote and vote at the next election.

Register to vote here:

Sam Ward, Policy and News Associate

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