Trafford Council leader Andrew Western has been selected as Labour’s candidate for the Stretford and Urmston, triumphing over two female candidates. The 37-year-old announced his selection on Twitter today.
The seat becomes vacant at the next general election, due in 2024, after Kate Green announced in February she would not stand for re-election. She had represented the safe Labour seat since 2010 and easily beat the Tory candidate into second place with a majority of more than 16,000 votes in 2019.
She served as Shadow Secretary of State for Education from 2020 to 2021, and was Shadow Minister of State for Disabled People under Ed Milliband from 2013 to 2015 but said it was the ‘right time for me to move on to new opportunities’.
Today (Sunday) it emerged her successor as Labour’s candidate would be Timperley-raised Coun Western, who lives in Urmston. Coun Western tweeted: “Absolutely delighted to have been selected as the @uklabour candidate for Stretford and Urmston, thank you to members for placing your trust in me!”
He was selection ahead of the two others on the shortlist, fellow Urmston resident and Urmston councillor Joanne Harding and Iram Woolley. Some party members thought Gary Neville, who has recently become a Labour party member, was being groomed for the seat but he never put his name forward and was not on the longlist.
After the selection process had finished, Coun Harding tweeted: “Congratulations to my colleague @AndrewHWestern – you will be a fantastic MP and I look forward to campaigning with and for you at the next election.”
Labour’s Denton and Reddish MP Andrew Gwynne tweeted: “Massive congratulations mate. Look forward to seeing you on the green benches (sooner rather than later!)”
Coun Western’s star is on the rise in the Labour party. Last week he won a vote to become the chairman of the Greater Manchester Transport Committee to head up the region’s big transport projects.
It means he will be a key decision-maker in how transport looks across the city region for the next 30 years. The Bee Network, an integrated, London-style transport network, will be the major focus of the city-region’s transport development over the coming years, and Coun Western will be at the helm of discussions about it.
The GMTC is a joint committee with representatives from the ten borough councils, the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham. It holds transport networks in the region, including Transport for Greater Manchester, to account.
Coun Western will be expected to stand down as a councillor in the Priory ward in Sale and as Trafford Council leader if he succeeds at the next general election. The Stretford and Urmston seat has been held by Labour since its creation in 1997 when Beverley Hughes (Andy Burnham’s deputy at the major’s office) was voted in.