Labour Party members will soon be asked to choose our candidate for Mayor of Greater Manchester. The new Mayor will head-up the Devolution deal given to the whole city-region, including here in Oldham and Saddleworth, mirroring the role of mayors in London and soon other devolved areas across the country.
The new Greater Manchester mayor is not just another civic role. The candidate we select will almost certainly go on to represent Greater Manchester on the national and world stage. We need someone with the leadership skills and experience, someone who has operated at a senior Government level, someone with strong Labour values and the integrity to hold such a position. That’s why I am backing ANDY BURNHAM, a fellow Greater Manchester MP, to be Mayor.
I have known Andy for many years well before I became MP for Oldham East & Saddleworth. In 2007, as a recent NHS Trust Chair he listened to my concerns about creeping privatisation in the NHS and in 2009 as the new Health Secretary, he made the NHS the ‘preferred provider’, to limit the role of the private sector in the NHS. In the run up to last year’s General Election as Shadow Health Secretary his vision for the NHS was the most successful campaign the Party ran.
Andy’s role in getting justice for the families of the 96 Liverpool FC fans who died at Hillsborough over 26 years ago is a testament to him and his dogged determination.
Many of you have met Andy on his numerous visits to Oldham and Saddleworth including last week as he joined Keir Starmer MP, Shadow Immigration Minister, and me with a large public audience to discuss immigration and the opportunities and challenges this brings, both locally and nationally as well meeting members at an evening fundraiser where he was able to chat with many of you about his vision for Greater Manchester.
If you have not visited the Andy for Mayor website (see link below) I would ask you to take a couple of minutes to read Andy’s vision for Greater Manchester. I have no doubt that you will find policies that connect with you. These include breaking down the barriers between technical and academic education, pushing entrepreneurialism and his long-held dream of bringing together the health and social care system.
But for me it’s Andy’s commitment to tackle the persistent inequalities that for too long have robbed people of fulfilling their potential and making Greater Manchester a beacon of social justice that inspires me. You can read more here – http://www.andy4mayor.co.uk/
I thought you may also be interested to see this article where Andy is demanding that George Osborne puts his money where his mouth is if he is serious about the Northern Powerhouse – http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/may/28/andy-burnham-george-osborne-manchester-1bn-black-hole
Andy also has a local twitter page – you can follow it here. https://twitter.com/AndyInOldham
Andy’s vision for a fairer, more equal Greater Manchester is something I share and I know you do too. But, uniquely, Andy has the ability and a proven, track record that he can deliver this.
I am very proud to be backing Andy as my friend and colleague, but appreciate you don’t know Andy as well as I do so if you have any questions you are very welcome to get in touch with me.