A petition of 10,500 Salford residents, started by the English Democrats, on a referendum on the creation of a directly elected mayor. triggered the process of establishing a directly elected Mayor for Salford. The poll was held on 26 January 2012.
In the first election for a directly elected mayor in May 2012, Ian Stewart, a Labour Party politician who was the Member of Parliament (MP) for Eccles from 1997 until 2010, was elected. During the campaign controversy surrounded Independent candidate Paul Massey who stated that he is not a criminal, after he was arrested in connection with allegations of money laundering.