Tony Lloyd has today, Friday 29 May, been selected as the interim mayor of Greater Manchester.
He was chosen by a panel representing the 10 Greater Manchester councils - the leaders of Bury, Bolton, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Stockport, Tameside and Trafford, the mayor of Salford and the deputy leader of Wigan – after the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) meeting at Leigh Sports Village.
The appointment followed interviews this 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 in the transitional period 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.
Tony 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."
A spokesman on behalf of the members of the selection panel said: "We are fortunate to have had two such high calibre candidates, with considerable experience and track records in public life, put themselves forward for this important role. It was a difficult decision and there is no doubt that either of them would have served Greater Manchester well.
"The area has succeeded in gaining some significant devolved freedoms and flexibilities by making a powerful case to central government that better results can be achieved if decisions about the needs and priorities of Greater Manchester are made in Greater Manchester. Further powers are on their way, with the creation of an elected mayor in 2017.
"The challenge now is to keep creating the conditions for economic growth and jobs creation and supporting Greater Manchester 2.8 million people to access these opportunities and share in the region's success. Tony will play a pivotal role in this as we all work together over the next two years."
The appointment is set to be officially confirmed at the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) meeting on 26 June, when Mr Lloyd will take up the post.