Labour lines up Andy Burnham and Sion Simon for mayoral gigs

Written by David Singleton on 9 August 2016 in Diary

Simon is best-known by many Westminster insiders for his 2006 YouTube parody of David Cameron.

Two Labour figures with lively political pasts look set to be the first ever mayors of Manchester and Birmingham.

Andy Burnham has been announced as the Labour candidate for Greater Manchester’s first mayoral election.

The frontbencher and former health secretary beat Bury South MP Ivan Lewis and interim mayor Tony Lloyd in the race, meaning he will go forward to stand at the election in May 2017.

It comes a year after Burnham took just 19 per cent of the votes in the battle for the Labour leadership – having started out as the clear favourite to replace Ed Miliband. Since then Burnham has been applauded by Jeremy Corbyn supporters and criticised by opponents of the leader for remaining in the shadow cabinet while others walked out.

He confirmed that he would stand down as MP for Leigh, but indicated that he would not immediately resign from Jeremy Corbyn's shadow cabinet. "I will remain as shadow home secretary for the time being," said Burnham.

However one Labour colleague immediately made it clear that he had his eye on Burnham's job...



Labour has also announced Sion Simon as its candidate for the first West Midlands metro mayor. The former Labour MP won the support of 71 per cent of Labour Party members in his head-to-head contest with former city councillor Steve Bedser.

The metro mayor will represent Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall, and Wolverhampton.

Simon is currently MEP for the West Midlands, having been Labour MP for Birmingham Erdington from 2001 to 2010.

He served as a junior minister under Gordon Brown but is best remembered by some Westminster insiders for a controversial 2006 YouTube spoof of David Cameron's video blog, which he produced with the help of pal Tom Watson, now deputy leader of the Labour party.

"We were trying to make some serious political points in a slightly edgy and unconventional way, but I was always very clear there was never any intention to cause offence and if anybody was offended by any of it, then I'm sorry,” said Simon in 2006.




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