Bev Craig 2, Manchester City Council, P Manchester City Council
Cllr Craig was appointed deputy leader in May. Credit: MCC

Craig fronts four-strong pack for Manchester leadership gig  

Dan Whelan

Deputy leader Cllr Bev Craig has emerged as the frontrunner to take over from Sir Richard Leese as Manchester City Council leader but will face competition from three others ahead of a vote by Manchester Labour on 5 October. 

Deputy leader Cllr Luthfur Rahman, Old Moat’s Cllr Garry Bridges, and Cllr Ekua Bayunu of Hulme ward are also in the race to succeed the outgoing leader, having put themselves forward. 

Leese announced his decision to step down earlier this month. His 25-year stint as leader will come to an end in December. 

While no decision on a replacement will be made until a meeting of Manchester’s Labour group early next month, sources suggest that 36-year-old Cllr Craig of Burnage ward is the favourite. 

One councillor told Place North West that they would be voting for Cllr Craig, while another said she is “exactly what our city needs”. 

Cllr Craig, who is also deputy chair of Manchester Health and Care Commissioning, declined to comment when approached by Place. 

Along with Cllr Craig, Cllr Rahman was appointed as deputy leader following the elections in May. 

Cllr Rahman, member for Longsight ward, was one of the early favourites to succeed Sir Richard Leese but is believed to be second in the queue behind his fellow deputy leader. 

Cllr Bridges, executive member for children’s services, has also put himself forward. Cllr Bridges was previously the office manager for Manchester Central MP Lucy Powell.

Meanwhile, Cllr Bayunu is vying to replace Leese for the second time this year. 

The Hulme councillor was the first person to challenge Leese in more than 20 years when she ran against him in May. 

However, the incumbent won comfortably, notching up 75 votes to Cllr Bayunu’s 15. 

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