A guide to voting today in Manchester's mayoral election with full list of candidates
- Voters in Manchester head to the polls today (Thursday) to elect the next Greater Manchester mayor.
- Andy Burnham has held the post since it was created in 2017
- Here's NQ's handy guide to the process and the candidates
What is the role of the mayor and why is it important?
The mayor of Greater Manchester is a major figure in the political life of the region with their own set of responsibilities separate from the GMCA (Greater Manchester Combined Authority).
The mayor’s responsibilities include looking after Greater Manchester’s public services such as transport and emergency services, policing and acts as an ambassador for the city region and its people.
The elected mayor works together with the ten borough councils in the area to help deliver the people’s vision of Greater Manchester.
This will be the second time that a mayoral election has been held for Greater Manchester, with the first being held in 2017.
When and where do I vote?
The elections are today (Thursday, 6 May). The election was originally meant to be held last year but was delayed due to the pandemic.
If you are registered to vote in the area, you should have received a polling card but you don't need a polling card in order to vote. You can find your local polling station here. Polling stations are open from 7am to 10pm.
How do I vote?
Voters will be asked to vote for two candidates: a first and second choice. The candidate with the most first-choice votes with be chosen as the winner. However, in the event of a tie, second choice votes will be considered and added to the total votes.
Who are the candidates and what do they stand for?
Andy Burnham (Labour)
Andy Burnham holds the current seat of mayor and is standing for re-election this year after holding it since 2017 with Labour winning with just over 63% of the votes.
He has become a popular political figure for the North after speaking up for how small businesses have been treated during the pandemic by the government and the issues with the three-tier system. One of his main programmes is to aim to make Greater Manchester a carbon-neutral region by 2038.
For this year’s election, Burnham’s manifesto focuses on the community aspect of the role. Local transport and the environment are the fronting issues, with his plans to reform the transport sector in Manchester by basing it on London’s system. Burnham said it was the ‘biggest change to our bus network in 35 years
Laura Evans (Conservative)
The Conservative’s candidate is Laura Evans who is hoping to be the first of her party to be the leader of the region after the success of the 2019 general election.
Evans’ manifesto calls for ‘a chance to do things differently’ following Labour’s tenure of the position, with areas such as policing and taxation taking focus.
If Evans were to be elected, she has a five-year plan in place. One of the major points would be to scrap the congestion tax that was enforced to tackle air pollution in the region. Other issues Evans would tackle include the building on green spaces and ensure outer towns of the region are equally represented.
At a mayoral debate broadcast by the BBC, Evans also said it was ‘time to collaborate’ with the central government in Westminster after years of disagreement.
Simon Lepori (Liberal Democrats)
Simon Lepori is the Liberal Democrat candidate hoping to change the balance of the two-party system in place.
Lepori has been living with his partner for 15 years in Stretford and his electoin profile says he has made a palpable presence for the Liberal Democrats in the region. He has stood for both council and parliamentary elections since he joined the party in 2015.
Lepori’s manifesto’s focus is on local communities and the healthcare system - he was a former healthcare worker who worked in social care for 17 years.
He is campaigning for a ‘refocus on our communities that are currently being left behind for both mental and physical health'. He also advocates for the integration of hospitals and councils so adequate social care can be provided.
Other areas of interest Lepori has prioritised include policing and housing, where a key promise is to create hyper-local plans with community input, so underrepresented areas are listened to.
Melanie Horrocks (Green party)
Melanie Horrocks of the Green party is pushing for a new approach for leadership in Greater Manchester to help fight the climate crisis
Horrocks is a qualified solicitor with a career in criminal defence law. She also has worked with the Independent Police Complaints Commission for over six years.
As a result, much of the Green manifesto revolves around reform. Speaking about the police system in the region, Horrocks says: “Something has gone very wrong with policing in Greater Manchester”, believing her experience in the Complaints Commission can help to restructure the organisation.
In addition, Horrocks is advocating for community action on regional issues such as transportation and social rights. Regarding transportation, a key point of the Green manifesto is to set clear targets to eradicate road deaths and encourage public transport that is sustainable and affordable.
Horrocks is also calling to challenge the Home Office for creating a “hostile environment” for marginalised groups, including the LGBTQ+ and disabled communities.
Nick Buckley MBE (Reform UK)
Nick Buckley, MBE, from the newly renamed Reform UK (originally the Brexit party) is hoping to offer a fresh voice through his candidacy in the mayoral elections.
Buckley's profile says he has been an active voice within the community, starting out as a youth intervention officer with Manchester City Council. He was later awarded an MBE by the Queen in 2019 for services to the community, following his successful initiatives to reduce homelessness and crime in the region.
Much of Buckley’s manifesto centres around the issue of policing, with a primary pledge by Reform UK to adopt ‘a back-to-basics approach’ to combating crime. Buckley revealed at the mayoral debate organised by the BBC that one of the features of this policy would be to ask individual neighbourhoods whether a “stop and search” initiative should be implemented.
One interesting policy of note within Buckley’s programme is his approach to ending rough sleeping. Buckley has pledged to end the problem of homelessness and sleeping rough within one year. Should he fail to do so, he would resign immediately.
Stephen Morris (English Democrats)
The campaign motto for English Democrat candidate Stephen Morris is 'Local jobs for local people'.
Morris is a native Mancunian, working in a variety of professions and industries from retail to public transport and believes that he can provide a local voice for local people across Greater Manchester.
As well as working across industries, Morris also has been heavily involved in trade unions, demanding adequate wages for workers, becoming the General Secretary of the Workers of England Union in 2015.
Morris’ election plan is to reform local services such as public transport and social care. Similar to Andy Burnham, Morris would bring bus services under local control. Fares would be capped daily and weekly to allow for more affordable transport to reduce congestion.
In addition, Morris is aiming to drastically reform health and social care. An important pledge is that student nurses who register to join the NHS within five years would have their student fees paid for. Parking charges in hospital car parks would also be abolished under his plan for the region.
In this year’s mayoral election, three candidates are not affiliated with any party and are instead running as independent applicants.
Marcus Farmer’s approach to the mayoral election is the focus on jobs, peace, and freedom. Appealing to voters in the manifesto booklet sent out to Manchester residents, the entrepreneur believes that ‘the negative health, social, economic, cultural and emotional effects of suppression (lockdown) are profound’.
In his manifesto, he hopes to bring Manchester to the same level as other international cities such as Mumbai for job potential. Preserving the freedom of speech and expression is also a key area that would be focused on.
Farmer would also change the way in which people vote in elections in the region. Moving from an “alternative” voting system, Farmer would advocate a proportionally representative election, where the political layout of the region is not dominated by one political party.
Alec Marvel and David John Sutcliffe have not provided information regarding their policies.
How do I Stay up to date?
The Northern Quota will be covering the elections and the local council elections so make sure to stay up to date on our site and to follow us for updates on Twitter and Facebook.