Police and crime commissioner Tony Lloyd has been selected as the interim mayor of Greater Manchester, beating combined authority chairman Lord Peter Smith to the position.
Lloyd was chosen by a panel representing the 10 Greater Manchester councils, made up of the leaders of Bury, Bolton, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Stockport, Tameside and Trafford, the mayor of Salford and the deputy leader of Wigan.
The appointment followed interviews on Friday morning, a series of engagement events around the region at which the two candidates were questioned by Greater Manchester councillors, and sessions with key private, public and voluntary sector partners.
The interim mayor will not have executive powers but will work in partnership with the GMCA, becoming its 11th member and full-time leader and providing strategic leadership up to May 2017 when, subject to legislation being passed, a directly-elected mayor will be voted in by the Greater Manchester public.
The directly-elected mayor will be responsible from 2017 for new powers in relation to transport, housing, planning and policing but will be required to consult the GMCA cabinet on his or her strategies, which it may reject if two-thirds of members agree to do so.
The existing police and crime commissioner’s role will also be merged with the directly-elected mayor’s role.
Lloyd said: “This is an exciting and challenging time for Greater Manchester. As we move towards devolution we have to ensure that there is a strong voice making the case to government on Greater Manchester’s behalf. I am pleased that I will be that voice, but to be effective my role must carry legitimacy with the people of Greater Manchester.
“The public must be involved as we move forward. Issues like health, community safety and economic development are too important for decisions to be made behind closed doors. The changes we need can only be delivered if the public has bought into them and are included in the debate.
“I want to build on the strong partnerships I have developed as Police and Crime Commissioner with public agencies, local elected politicians, businesses, voluntary and charity groups and – most importantly of all – local people themselves to ensure we speak with one strong, united voice.
“I would like to thank Lord Peter Smith for his service as chair of the combined authority. Peter is not just one of the great council leaders of this land, but he has also guided Greater Manchester to the place where we are now and I look forward to working with him in the coming years.”
The appointment is set to be officially confirmed at the Greater Manchester Combined Authority meeting on 26 June, when Lloyd will take up the post.