This May, voters across Greater Manchester will have our first election for a new Mayor. The Mayor of Greater Manchester will be one of the most powerful politicians in the country, with more authority devolved to Greater Manchester than to London.
The aftermath of the EU Referendum remains the biggest issue in UK politics, and likely will do for decades. Overall, Manchester voted to Remain in the EU. But of the three leading candidates, only Jane Brophy for the Liberal Democrats is determined to use the influence afforded by the position to maintain the best possible relationship with the EU – remaining in the EU if possible, with a referendum on any terms of exit rather than giving the Government a free rein.
The Supplementary Vote used in the election means we can express a first and second preference for candidates. In preferential systems like British Proportional Representation (STV) and Alternative Vote (AV), this allows you to vote for who you want to win first, then for who you wouldn’t mind winning, and so on.
Unfortunately that tactic does not work in this election. Second preferences are only counted for the top two candidates in the first round. That means that for the pro-EU case to be heard in Manchester, we have to make sure Jane hits the top two. This requires all pro-EU voters to give Jane first preference.
There are of course many other reasons to vote for Jane. As a health care worker, she will exercise Greater Manchester’s powers over the NHS responsibly and wisely. She is a deeply committed environmentalist, and has a good understanding of small business and job creation. But these things will all be impacted by Brexit far more than they will by the Greater Manchester Mayor and Combined Authority, so it’s even more vital that our Mayor has Greater Manchester’s interests in Europe at her heart.
Even if you don’t live in Greater Manchester, you can support Jane’s campaign today by donating just £25 or more to reach 10,000 voters, and there are many other ways to get involved. But it’s important that pro-EU voters do get involved. The people who want to drag us into a disastrous hard Brexit have not given up, and neither can we.