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Manchester heads to the polls next week – but who will be our next Mayor?

With the Manchester mayoral election coming up next week, let's take a look at the candidates and their manifestos

On the 2nd of May, Manchester, Salford and all of the Greater Manchester roroughs will be voting to elect the next Mayor of Greater Manchester at the Manchester mayoral election.

The current Mayor, Andy Burnham, is standing for the third time.

He seems a shoo-in for the role again, but who else is up for the top job?

Let’s have a look at the candidates and their manifestos.

Who will be the next Mayor of Greater Manchester?

Laura Evans (Conservative)

Manchester Mayoral election
Photo credit – Instagram @lauraevansteam

Widely seen as Andy Burnham’s main challenger, Laura Evans replaced the Conservative’s previous candidate, Dan Barker, who defected to Reform UK.

She came second in the 2021 mayoral election, and this time around is running on the premise that she ‘would make better use of public money’.

She has previously branded Andy Burnham’s leadership ‘a complete and utter failure’.

Laura has been highly critical of homelessness in the city and wants to tackle crime head-on, particularly knife crime.

She said: “Greater Manchester is falling behind. We haven’t seen that much-needed jobs boost and investment outside of the city centre to help local people find work. He’s failed to deliver transport links for everyone across Greater Manchester.

“And, it’s fallen on the Conservative government to step in and deliver better policing for Greater Manchester.”

Read more about Laura’s policies by clicking here

Jake Austin (Liberal Democrats)

Jake Austin - Manchester Mayor
Jake Austin

Jake Austin is a councillor in Stockport but was born and bred in Wigan.

He has promised to build the ‘right homes in the right places’, fight to protect green spaces and tackle the sewage dumping crisis in our rivers.

Jake also has a plan to restore local bus routes, re-connecting the suburbs of Greater Manchester with the city network and beyond.  He has previously fought against closures to local fire services, pledging to protect them if he is elected as mayor.

His manifesto also says he will ‘protect everyone in our region against harassment’ to battle the targeting of minorities.

You can check out his Twitter here

Andy Burnham (Labour)

Manchester Mayoral election
Andy Burnham at the Stockport interchange opening. Photo credit: LDRS

Andy Burnham’s team will be confident they can win the mayoral election for another term.

Mr Burnham is the former MP for Leigh and served in the cabinet under Gordon Brown. He was first elected iMayor n May 2017 and was re-elected in 2021, reveiving a whopping 67% of ‘first preference votes’ and over 60% of the vote in all 10 boroughs.

He can point to the relatively successful rollout of Manchester’s Bee Network and nearly 100km of safe, segregated walking and cycleway set to be complete by the end of the year.

Labour has also set 2038 as a target date for Greater Manchester to hit its zero-carbon targets and has agreed to build 50,000 truly affordable homes in Greater Manchester, with 30,000 available for social rent.

This year’s election manifesto promises to focus on ending the housing crisis by 2038, offering a new technical education pathway as an alternative to university, and creating a new ‘Live Well’ service.

Check out Andy’s manifesto for the Manchester mayoral election by clicking here

Dan Barker (Reform UK)

Dan Barker

Dan is a business owner in Manchester who also serves as a magistrate in his spare time.

Much like Laura Evans, he is fiercely critical of Andy Burnham’s tenure in office.

Dan’s vision for Manchester is practical: safer streets, a flourishing economy, enhanced connectivity, increased financial security, and sustainable housing for the future.

He pledges that under his leadership, no community will be left behind.

A cornerstone of Dan’s platform is his commitment to tackling crime and anti-social behaviour through a return to fundamental policing principles. He advocates for a proactive approach to law enforcement to ensure the safety and well-being of all residents.

Housing is another top priority, aiming to ensure the delivery of new homes with a focus on brownfield sites. This policy not only aims to curb skyrocketing rents but also aims to safeguard Manchester’s precious greenbelt.

In a bid to address contentious issues head-on, Dan has pledged to remove CAZ cameras, signalling a departure from the status quo and a commitment to listening to the concerns of the community.

You can read more about his policies here

Nick Buckley (Independent)

Manchester Mayoral election
Nick Buckley

Nick previously stood for the Reform Party in 2021.

He founded the Mancunian Way charity which works with young people and rough sleepers. You can check out their work here

He says: “The Tories promise a bigger economy. Labour promises more public spending. Neither will make us happy. We need to feel integrated within our community, caring for our families and our neighbours. We are social creatures, not accountants or consumers. We need to fix the basics.”

Mr Buckley wants to scrap the clean air zone (Caz), sack senior police officers who failed the victims of grooming gangs, tackle knife crime by offering neighbourhoods a vote on stop and search and create a free speech charter so ‘everyone understands their rights.’

Other pledges include creating a waste and incompetence watchdog to inform the public on how their taxes are squandered, and to give the people of Bolton a referendum on whether they wish to be part of Greater Manchester.

He has also promised to end rough sleeping within a year.

You can read more about his pledges here

Hannah Spencer (Green Party)

Hannah, who grew up in Bolton, says watching the impact of the Conservative’s austerity years prompted her to take action and get into politics. Hannah is now the Green Party councillor for Hale Ward.

“In my first 100 days in office as mayor, I’d roll out the beginnings of a proper warm home scheme, one that everyone can access,” she said.

“I’d immediately set up a commission to look at the impact of bringing in rent controls across the region.

“Rents have risen astronomically across the region. In Bolton, Wigan, and Rochdale they’ve gone up over 30% in the last three years alone. I’d also set up an independent body to deal with complaints against serving police officers.

“Trust in Greater Manchester Police feels so low, and we have to restore it so that everyone feels safer.”

You can check out Hannah’s pledges by clicking here

So who will be getting your vote in the Manchester mayoral election?

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