As a former Health Secretary and frontrunner for the Labour leadership, Andy Burnham is by far the most high-profile name to win the mayoralty. He stepped down from his Leigh constituency seat last month where he was MP from 2001. Burnham was born in Aintree, Merseyside and joined the Labour party aged 14. Almost his entire career has been in politics, and he ultimately held various ministerial roles in New Labour between 2005 and 2010. However, his recent campaigning activity has won him plaudits, including his role in uncovering the Hillsborough disaster. Although he didn’t take part in the mass shadow cabinet resignation last year, various remarks, including over the party’s stance on immigration, have distanced him from the leadership – including an apparent snub on the day of his victory where Burnham did not join Corbyn for a victory rally in Manchester.
Andy Burnham’s priority areas
Read Andy Burnham’s manifesto here.
Greater Manchester has led the devolution agenda, and now Andy Burnham will be the face of it. From describing the devolution of health care as creating a ‘swiss-cheese’ NHS, Burnham’s manifesto now in some ways mirrors NHS strategy in Greater Manchester. With the departure of Sir Howard Bernstein and new chief executives for both Manchester City Council and Greater Manchester Combined Authority, this could mark a new chapter from the Bernstein-Leese era of the past two decades. How different it is remains to be seen – Sir Richard Leese has already been appointed as Burnham’s deputy Mayor for Business and the Economy. The ten local authority leaders and Burnham will take some getting used to each other, not least Burnham’s Tory opponent in the mayoral race, Cllr Sean Anstee, Leader of Trafford Council. No doubt Burnham’s huge margin of victory will give him confidence.