Greater Manchester mayoral runners and riders: Ivan Lewis MP
Over the next few weeks and months, we will take a look at the candidates putting themselves forward to be elected Mayor of Greater Manchester in 2017. The competition is rapidly moving from the hypothetical to the real, as contenders declare an interest or rule themselves out. Sir Richard Leese this week said he would consider the role “a step backwards… after two demanding, difficult but exciting decades as Leader of [Manchester City] Council.”
Very much a declared candidate is Ivan Lewis, the Member of Parliament for Bury South. Mr Lewis was elected to Parliament in the Blair landslide of 1997, after working for several charities. He was a junior minister from 2006 until 2010, and served in the Shadow Cabinet in a range of portfolios under Ed Miliband.
Mr Lewis said in November that his ‘substantive experience in national and local government and public service commitment over a 25-year period’ meant he was considering pursuing the role, and would discuss it with colleagues and constituents. He must have been encouraged by what he heard from them, though we can safely conclude that this does not include Sir Richard, who is said to have informed colleagues that “…I would take some convincing that 20 years in Parliament is adequate preparation” for the mayoralty.
Mr Lewis says in his mission statement that he wants to ‘reconnect economic growth with social justice and begin a new era of politics with more open democracy.’ With the election at an early stage, his campaign is currently low on detail and high in aspiration, and has been marked chiefly by an attention-grabbing spat with the police. He promises a more detailed manifesto to follow, and that’s to be expected in a race that remains mostly about establishing name recognition and flushing out candidates.
If you fancy his chances, then you can back Mr Lewis with Ladbrokes at 10/1, making him third-favourite, though he may be disappointed to remain longer odds than someone who has disavowed any interest in the job…
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