29 January 2017
Following the tragic and untimely death of Deyika Nzeribe earlier this month, the Greater Manchester Green Parties have selected a new candidate, Will Patterson, Chair of the Wigan & Leigh Green Party, to contest the Metro Mayor election in Greater Manchester. The vote, due to be held on 4 May, will give more than two million voters across the City Region the opportunity to vote for Green policies.
Will, a Wigan resident, joined the Green Party in 2014, and stood as the Green Party Parliamentary Candidate for Wigan in 2015. He has been an active campaigner for more public involvement in the devolution process.
Will campaigns in his local area against fracking, he helped establish Wigan's People's Assembly Against Austerity, supported the 2016 Wigan Together event to celebrate the diversity in the local community, and was on the organising committee of the first Wigan Pride, held last year
Will is 33. He was working as a contract worker in IT Project Management until his last contract expired just before Christmas. And as a renter, Will is part of a generation that faces uncertain prospects, with permanent jobs and affordable housing out of reach for many working people under 35. He feels his experiences dealing with the job market and the Government's new benefits system give him a good understanding of what life is like for many people across Greater Manchester.
Setting out his approach for the campaign, Will said, "This isn't the devolution I would have hoped for: it's been dropped on the people following closed-door back-room negotiations between Councils and the Government. If devolution is to work for the people of Greater Manchester, it needs to be owned by the people of Greater Manchester and deliver real solutions to the problems we face.
We need a combined authority that ensures that devolution will benefit all parts of Greater Manchester, that opposes the major loss of greenbelt across the region, such as the Northern Gateway proposals for Chadderton, Royton and Shaw, that prioritises the real need for social and affordable homes, that does more to tackle the climate change chaos, like flooding, hitting our region.
Vitally, we need to open the doors of our new institutions so that the people of Greater Manchester can see and share in the decisions being taken in our name.
Successive Westminster governments have left Greater Manchester behind - if we're to tackle their legacy of poverty and inequality, we need to do devolution differently. I'll empower not just our cities, but our citizens."
Commenting on his nomination, Will said, "These are tough circumstances to run in. I'm honoured to have been called upon to continue the amazing work that Deyika Nzeribe started, he worked tirelessly to offer Greater Manchester the Green voice that our region desperately needs. Together with party members from across the region, I'm looking forward to working for a fairer, more democratic and greener Greater Manchester."