The Liberal Democrat candidate for Metro Mayor of Manchester is Rochdale Liberal Democrat Group Leader Andy Kelly.
Andy, a former senior youth worker, was born and raised in Rochdale and represents his local community as ward councillor in the Milnrow and Newhey area of the town.
He has campaigned for a councillor pay cut to save £400k to plough into the borough’s struggling market. The Liberal Democrats led by Kelly in Rochdale asked councillors from all parties to support the cut of their own allowances as part of a plan to generate £400,000 savings that could be ploughed into Rochdale’s struggling market.
Andy Kelly stands on a revoke article 50 platform. Stating his anger with the two mainstream parties:
“The Tories are playing parlour games with people’s lives and Labour are betraying those they profess to represent – we know it will be the working classes who will bare most of the pain. Greater Manchester voters deserve better representation, we need someone who is not afraid to be frank about our future.”
This year the Liberal Democrats made huge gains in the local elections, with 700+ gains nationally – the party’s best local election results. Many of these gains were in the Greater Manchester region. Three weeks later the Liberal Democrats gained two members of European parliament in the North West as voters turned away from both Labour and the Conservatives. A trend mirrored in the European elections where the North West elected two Lib Dem MEPs.
Following on from an upturn in the opinion polls and a recent parliamentary by-election win, the Liberal Democrats are in a strong position to take on both Labour and the Tories across Greater Manchester heading into 2020.
There is a homelessness crisis across the region, Andy Kelly connects the homeless crisis with the housing crisis, citing the failures of local and national government to build enough houses.
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This echoes the summation from many housing NGOs, such as Shelter and the Greater Manchester homeless network.
“As the Mayor for Greater Manchester I would take on the developers and urge local councils to address the housing crisis with real solutions, not by chucking up some houses where Burnham and his team never go – although he is more than welcome to come and visit Rochdale.”
Cllr Kelly continues: “We don’t have genuine affordable living in most parts of Greater Manchester, and where we may have some, it lacks the infrastructure for people to prosper. People of all generations are being priced out of their own communities and this has resulted in destitution. We need a Liberal Mayor who can tackle the homeless crisis with compassion, not fancy slogans.”
Andy Kelly is known in his community as a veteran rock star and celebrity quizzer. Often referred to as ‘Andy Kelly- Man on the Telly’. Passionate about musical theatre and bass guitarist in an Irish band. Andy Kelly frequently tours the pubs of his hometown playing and singing in the band The Scattering.
Mounting a grassroots campaign, Andy Kelly stated at the selection hustings: “I am doing this, stepping forward, because Greater Manchester deserves a Mayor who understands what it means to study, live, work and bring up a family here. A Mayor who understands what we need to do to make our city region a player on the national, European and International stage.
Andy Kelly feels a responsibility to represent people like him, as a community figurehead he is concerned that voter’s voices are dismissed, stepping away from identikit style politics.
Jo Swinson, the recently elected leader of the Liberal Democrats welcomes his selection:
“I’m thrilled to see Andy Kelly selected for the Metro Mayor election for Greater Manchester, his no-nonsense approach to Brexit will be welcomed by the people of the region. His passion, warm-humour and endless enthusiasm knows no bars and I look forward to seeing the fruits of his 2020 campaign.”