Byelection looms as MP set to become Greater Manchester deputy mayor

Appointment of Labour’s Kate Green would trigger byelection in Stretford and Urmston

Labour will soon be defending another seat in a byelection after Kate Green MP was announced as Andy Burnham’s choice for deputy mayor of Greater Manchester.

Bev Hughes announced on on Wednesday that she would depart the role in early 2023.

Green, the MP for Stretford and Urmston in Manchester, has been put forward as her successor. Under the rules for metro mayors, neither a mayor nor their deputy can be an MP at the same time if the mayoralty includes powers over the police.

Hughes, a former MP who was children’s minister under Tony Blair, announced earlier this year that she would not stand for re-election at the next general election. An MP since 2010, she retained her seat with a solid majority of 16,417.

There had been speculation that Gary Neville, the former Manchester United footballer turned pundit, would be parachuted into a safe seat such as Stretford and Urmston.

However, the former England right-back appeared to rule that out last month when he told Labour conference he had “no intention of going into politics”.

Andrew Western, the leader of Trafford council, has already been selected as Labour’s candidate in Green’s seat at the next general election. He paid tribute to her on Wednesday, describing the deputy mayoral position as a “brill opportunity for her”.

A byelection would not be called until Green stands down in the new year.

Labour will defend the City of Chester seat on 1 December after Chris Matheson resigned as MP over “unwanted sexual advances”. Matheson won a 6,164 majority in 2019, though it was previously a super-marginal, which he took from the Tories in 2015 with just 93 votes.

There will also be a byelection in West Lancashire, after the resignation of Rosie Cooper in September. No date has yet been set, but Cooper said she would become chair of Mersey Care NHS foundation trust. In 2019 Cooper won a majority of 8,336.

As Greater Manchester deputy mayor, Hughes, 72, had oversight of Greater Manchester police (GMP) at a time when the force was placed under special measures in December 2020 over its failure to record 80,000 crimes in a year.

GMP was lifted out of special measures earlier this month after His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Service said it had made significant improvements under its new chief constable, Stephen Watson.

Burnham said: “Bev has given an incredible career of service to the public of Greater Manchester and is a very hard act to follow. However, I’m confident I have found someone with the calibre, character, and values to do just that.

“Kate Green MP has accepted my invitation to be put forward for the role as deputy mayor of Greater Manchester with responsibility for police and fire, and that nomination will now go forward for consideration by our police, fire and crime panel. If approved, Kate will take up the role in the new year, supported by Bev in a transitional period.”


Josh Halliday and Helen Pidd

The GuardianTramp

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