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  1. ITV Report

Labour's Ivan Lewis to stand for Greater Manchester Mayor

Ivan Lewis Credit: PA

A Labour MP sacked by text message by Jeremy Corbyn is to run for one of the top jobs in local politics.

Ivan Lewis, the MP for Bury South and former government minister, announced he will seek the Labour candidacy to become Greater Manchester's first elected mayor under "Northern Powerhouse" devolution plans for the area.

The former shadow Northern Ireland secretary was sent a text by new Labour leader Mr Corbyn telling him his job had been given to someone else in a re-shuffle last year.

Mr Lewis had served under four Labour leaders and held ministerial positions in the Treasury, Education, the Foreign Office, International Development and Health.

Announcing his intention to stand as mayor of Greater Manchester, he said:

"I believe radical change is necessary in Greater Manchester to reconnect economic growth with social justice and begin a new era of politics with more open democracy.

"I want local councillors, entrepreneurs, trade unionists, voluntary sector organisations and community activists to join me in a new mission to fight inequality and transform Greater Manchester.

"Good jobs, high quality education and skills, better health, especially mental health, quality public transport and affordable housing must become the norm in all parts of Greater Manchester.

"We can no longer afford to waste the talent of too many of our fellow residents or ignore the distinct challenges facing the most disadvantaged parts of the conurbation.

"I will stand up to the Tories from Day One to seek a new, better devolution deal that benefits every part of Greater Manchester.

"George Osborne and his Tory colleagues should be in no doubt that as the Labour mayor I will fight for more resources, more powers and stand in the way of any further attempts to privatise the NHS."

– Ivan Lewis

Voters across Greater Manchester will be asked to elect a mayor in May 2017 following the "DevoManc" deals signed by the city region's 10 council leaders and central government, devolving power for transport, housing, skills and, later, for the £6 billion NHS and social care budget.

Mr Lewis, 48, has 19 years' experience as a Greater Manchester MP, having served nine consecutive years as a minister and five years in the Labour shadow cabinet.

He became a Bury councillor at 23, was made chief executive of a social care charity at 25 and became an MP, aged 30, in 1997, when he took back Bury South from the Tories.

He added:

"In government and on the front bench I sought to be radical and innovative - always with the most vulnerable as my focus. That is what Greater Manchester now needs from a Labour mayor."

– Ivan Lewis

Former Labour MP Tony Lloyd, who is already serving as interim mayor of Greater Manchester, and is the region's current Police and Crime Commissioner, has also announced his intention to stand as Labour's candidate.