While several weeks remain before ballots go out in this summer’s leadership contest, voting is almost overin several major Labour selections. Only a day remains for the party members of Greater Manchester, West Midlands and the Liverpool City Region to choose who they want as the candidate for next year’s new mayoral elections.
Selection interviews took place with an NEC sub-committee late last month, with three candidates in both Liverpool and Manchester, and two in the West Midlands making the shortlists. The elections have been notable for a number of Westminster frontbenchers throwing their hats in the ring.
Voting in the selections closes at noon next Friday, August 5, while the inaugural elections will take place on Thursday May 4 next year.
But who’s in the running?
Andy Burnham – The Shadow Home Secretary has made his pitch that the mayoralty should be “Cabinet level job requiring Cabinet level experience”. He has been MP for the Greater Manchester seat Leigh since 2001, and is the highest profile name in the running for any of the new metro mayor roles.
Ivan Lewis – Lewis, who been MP for Bury South since 1997, has said he wants to put “fighting inequality” at the heart of his campaign. Seen as the outsider, his campaign claim there are lots of undecided voters up for grabs in the final week.
Tony Lloyd – Lloyd was a Manchester MP from 1983 until 2012, when he stepped down to become the region’s Police and Crime Commissioner. He has a wealth of trade union backing, as well as the support of the Coop Party, and as the incumbent (interim) mayor, is in a strong position in the race.
Liverpool City Region
Joe Anderson – Leader of Liverpool City Council until 2012, Anderson then took on the new role of directly-elected Liverpool Mayor and was re-elected for a second term earlier this year, putting him in a good position with voters to take another step up.
Luciana Berger – Berger is the only metro mayor candidate who resigned from the Shadow Cabinet in the wake of the EU referendum last month, as well as being the only woman and the youngest of the eight candidates standing. She is running on a pitch to “choose the future”.
Steve Rotheram – As the Labour leader’s Private Parliamentary Secretary (PPS), Rotheram is the most obvious Corbyn ally in any of the selections, and hiss success or otherwise could be used by some as a measure of grassroots support for the Corbyn project. But Lord Mayor of Liverpool from 2008-09, and MP for Liverpool Walton since 2010, Rotheram has a high profile in the city in his own right.
West Midlands City Region
Steve Bedser – Bedser is a businessman and former Birmingham City Councillor and cabinet member. He was a late entry into the race, after it appeared that rival Sion Simon might take the nomination unchallenged.
Siôn Simon – Simon has been MEP for the West Midlands since 2014, and was MP for Birmingham Erdington between 2001 and 2010. He stood down from Parliament in order to campaign for a directly elected Birmingham Mayor position, although his hopes seemed to hit the buffers when the notion was rejected in a 2012 referendum.