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Labour’s Ian Stewart becomes Salford’s first elected mayor in ‘historic day’ for the city

By Ben Burrows

Labour’s Ian Stewart is Salford’s first ever elected mayor after he survived a second round count to win the poll on Friday afternoon.

The poll was forced to a second round after Cllr Stewart polled 46% of the vote, just 4% shy of the amount needed for a first round victory.

Cllr Stewart was delighted with his success which followed the national trend of big Labour gains in an array of councils nationwide.

“This is a historic day for the historic city of Salford,” he said.

He added: “We must raise our voice in support for those in Salford who have no voice, there must be tears in our voice for those most in need, there must be defiance in our voice and we must rage against anyone who promotes hate.

“There must also be laughter and joy in our voices and we must share it with each other and with the people of Salford, they deserve no less.”

Opponent Karen Garrido was upbeat despite her loss claiming that taking the vote to a second round was the best she could hope for.

“I am very happy,” she said. “It is important that there is a strong opposition for this council so they can hold that council to account.”

Turnout was very poor across Greater Manchester and Salford’s mayoral election was no different with only 26% of residents visiting the ballot boxes yesterday.

“I’m very disappointed,” she said. “As a woman I think about how people chained themselves to railings to help us get the vote and now the people of Salford do not use it – it is very disappointing indeed.

“Here in Salford, Labour have been in power for 40 years and people think their vote will therefore make no difference.”

Cllr Garrido echoed criticism from many quarters that local politics has now become monopolised by national issues.

She said: “Labour have campaigned about us selling off the NHS – how exactly are we going to do that? Who would buy it?

“Where were their local policies? What are they going to do about the roads? What are they going to do about council tax? What are they going to do about education?”

Cllr Garrido also criticised Labour spending so much money on ‘vanity projects’ – the £25million Salford City Stadium, and venue for the mayoral count is a prime example.

“Why have we borrowed £25million to build this stadium? Imagine the good we could have done to help alleviate child poverty in the area with that money.”

Liberal Democrats continued their national slide with Cllr Norman Owen suffering in the mayoral vote polling only 4.8% of the vote.

This particularly low figure also means the UK’s traditional third party had the ignominy of not retaining their campaign deposit.

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