Leigh MP Andy Burnham has promised to hold a digital summit if elected as Mayor of Greater Manchester.

In an interview you can listen to below, the Labour candidate tells BusinessCloud editor Chris Maguire that tech and digital is crucial to the future of the wider Manchester region.

And, if elected on Thursday 4th May, he plans to bring together the great and the good of tech within the year to sing Greater Manchester’s praises.

“Tech and digital has got to be a core part of our story as a city region going forward,” he said.

“If I am elected, I’m going to convene a digital summit to announce our ambition to the country, to Europe and the world that Manchester is going to become a world-leading digital city.”

LISTEN TO THE INTERVIEW IN FULL

Andy Burnham speaks with Chris Maguire

Andy Burnham speaks with Chris Maguire

Burnham, who also joked that he wouldn’t seek to edit the Manchester Evening News – unlike former Tory Chancellor George Osborne, who will edit the Evening Standard in London alongside his duties as an MP – says the Manchester story is already making waves on the continent.

“There is a critical mass of companies big and small which are creating an incredible energy around the digital sector in the city and we have got to capitalise on that,” he said.

“The plan is to have a policy agenda around the skills and infrastructure that we build to support the development of a world-leading digital sector.

“The election of the mayor is a real chance to announce our intention to become a digital city in every respect.”

On a visit to Manchester-based cloud and colocation company UKFast – and ahead of the opening of a flightpath between Manchester and Los Angeles next week – he says people in Berlin are even beginning to refer to the city as the ‘Silicon Valley of Europe’.

He also sees the potential devolution of power to the regions as a chance to “fix politics” and “rebalance the country from south to north”.

The mayoral election will also be contested by Sean Anstee of the Conservative Party, Liberal Democrat Jane Brophy, UKIP’s Shneur Odze, Will Patterson of the Green Party, English Democrat Stephen Morris and independent candidate Marcus Farmer.