Manchester City Council
Manchester City Council
Cllr Abid Latif Chohan, Labour
since 15 May 2019
Joanne Roney OBE
since April 2017
|Greater Manchester Combined Authority|
Greater Manchester Police and Crime Panel
Length of term
|2019 (one third of councillors)|
2018 (all councillors due to boundary changes)
2016 (one third of councillors)
|2021 (one third of councillors)|
|Manchester Town Hall, Albert Square, Manchester|
Manchester City Council is the local government authority for Manchester, a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England. It is composed of 96 councillors, three for each of the 32 electoral wards of Manchester. The council is controlled by the Labour Party and led by Sir Richard Leese. There is currently no Opposition Group and therefore no Leader of the Opposition nor principal Opposition Group. There are two Lib Dem Councillors, and two currently non-aligned Independent members. Joanne Roney is the chief executive. Many of the council's staff are based at Manchester Town Hall.
Manchester was incorporated in 1838 under the Municipal Corporations Act 1835 as the Corporation of Manchester or Manchester Corporation. It achieved city status in 1853, only the second such grant since the Reformation. The area included in the city has been increased many times, in 1885 (Bradford, Harpurhey and Rusholme), 1890 (Blackley, Crumpsall, part of Droylsden, Kirkmanshulme, Moston, Newton Heath, Openshaw, and West Gorton), 1903 (Heaton), 1904 (Burnage, Chorlton cum Hardy, Didsbury, and Moss Side), 1909 (Gorton, and Levenshulme), 1931 (Wythenshawe: Baguley, Northenden, and Northen Etchells), and Ringway in 1974. A new Town Hall was opened in 1877 (by Alderman Abel Heywood) and the Mayor of Manchester was granted the title of Lord Mayor in 1893.
Under the Local Government Act 1972 the council was reconstituted as a metropolitan borough council in 1974, and since then it has been controlled by the Labour Party. In 1980, Manchester was the first council to declare itself a nuclear-free zone. In 1984 it formed an equal opportunities unit as part of its opposition to Section 28.
Elections are usually by thirds (a third of the seats elected, three years in every four), although the 2018 and 2004 elections saw all seats contested due to substantial boundary changes. Labour has controlled a majority of seats in every election since the council was reconstituted. Between 2014 and 2016 Labour occupied every seat with no opposition. In the local elections held on 5 May 2016, former Manchester Withington MP, John Leech, was elected with 53% of the vote signifying the first gain for any party other than Labour for the first time in six years in Manchester and providing an opposition for the first time in two years. On 7 March 2017, it was reported that City Centre Councillor Kevin Peel had been suspended from the Manchester Labour group after reports of bullying. He sat as an independent, still taking the Labour Group whip until he rejoined Labour. On 24 July 2019 it was reported that Majid Dar (Ancoats and Beswick) had been suspended by the Labour party.
Coat of arms
A coat of arms was granted to the Manchester Corporation in 1842, passing on to Manchester City Council when the borough of Manchester was granted the title of city in 1853.
- The Shield: red (Gules) with three gold (Or) bands drawn diagonally across to the right hand side.
- The Chief (the white (Argent) top segment): shows a ship at sea in full sail. This is a reference to the city's trading base.
- The Crest: On a multicoloured wreath stands a terrestrial globe, signifying Manchester's world trade, and covered by a swarm of flying bees. The bee was adopted in the 19th century as a symbol of industrial Manchester being the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution.
- The Supporters: On the left, a heraldic antelope with a chain attached to a gold (Or) collar, representing engineering industries, and hanging at the shoulder, the red rose of Lancashire, reflecting Manchester's historic position in Lancashire. On the right, a golden lion stands guardant (facing us), crowned with a red (Gules) castle (a reference to the Roman fort at Castlefield from which the city originated). The lion also wears the Red Rose of Lancashire.
- Motto: Concilio et Labore, loosely translated "By wisdom and effort" (or "By counsel and hard work").
In 1954 the Manchester Corporation successfully took the Manchester Palace of Varieties to court for improperly using the Corporation's arms in its internal decoration and its company seal. The case of Manchester Corporation v Manchester Palace of Varieties Ltd; was the first sitting of the Court of Chivalry for two hundred years, and it has not sat since.
In April 2013, Manchester City Council threatened to take legal action against The Manchester Gazette, for its use of the City's coat of arms on their website. The News Outlet claimed it already gained permission and continued to use it for a further 8 months in spite of the warnings. Withington MP John Leech said the town hall's latest move a ‘massive over-reaction and waste of money’, adding: "Have the council’s legal department got nothing better to do?"
On 14 April 2010 the BBC reported that council leader Richard Leese had stood down temporarily from his post as leader of Manchester City Council after having been arrested on suspicion of the common assault of his 16-year-old stepdaughter. He was released after accepting a police caution and admitting striking his stepdaughter across the face.
On 7 March 2017, it was reported that City Centre Councillor Kevin Peel had been suspended from the Manchester Labour group after reports of bullying. He sat as an independent, still taking the Labour Group whip until he rejoined Labour. He did not stand in the following election.
On 12 February 2019, an 'enormous political row'  erupted after Manchester Council announced it was consulting the public on a new Public Spare Protection Order which, among other things, targeted ‘aggressive’ begging and rough sleepers who pitch tents or sleep in doorways. The council's opposition leader, and former Lib Dem MP, John Leech, sparked further controversy when he tweeted that the potential council policy which was still out for public consultation was "absolute crap".
On 8 March 2019, at a routine council budget meeting, a row erupted before proceedings began. The argument was prompted by a sign put up by Labour above the Lord Mayor's chair at the front of the council chamber, reading ‘10 Years of Tory And Lib Dem Cuts’. When the Lib Dem leader John Leech entered the chamber, he took down the message – prompting senior Labour Councillor Pat Karney to ‘thunder’ across the chamber. He began ‘screaming’ and ‘shouting’ and Leech and told him to hand over the laminated A4 pieces of paper at least 11 times.
On 15 April 2019, The Times uncovered a number of offensive tweets from Fallowfield Labour councillor Jade Doswell. Doswell had tweeted that she was a "little bit sick in my mouth" at the sight of an Israeli flag and claimed the flag was 'offensive' and provocative’. She apologised on a private Facebook post.
On 25 July 2019, it was reported that councillor Majid Dar had shared Facebook comparing justifications made by the Nazis for the slaughter of Jews during the Holocaust with those made by Israel's army for its actions in Gaza. Another post stated that Zionism ‘keeps changing direction like a snake’, whilst replies to one of his other comments included ‘Kill all the Jews PERIOD’ and ‘Israel needs to stop existing’.
On 18 March 2020, Councillor Greg Stanton stood down from the Liberal Democrats to sit as an independent councillor. Although Councillor Stanton cited his reasons for leaving as "because I could no longer support [John Leech's] leadership", the Liberal Democrats told the Manchester Evening News that Stanton was under "investigation for unacceptable and obstructive behaviour". Councillor Stanton stated that the statement was "misleading". 
On 20 March 2020, The MEN ran an article on independent councillor Kenneth Dobson in Clayton and Openshaw, after he spread conspiracy theories suggesting that the outbreak of COVID-19 was faked. A series of tweets labelling COVID-19 a ‘bogus virus’ and a ‘load of bol**x’ were posted on his Twitter page, alongside images posted describing the pandemic as ‘propaganda’ and conflating the spread of the virus with the rollout of 5G wireless networks.
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (May 2019)
|1996-||Sir Richard Leese||Labour|
Leaders of the Opposition
|1973-1990||Harold Tucker||Conservative||Tucker was Lord Mayor of Manchester from 1984-1985.|
|1991-1997||James Ashley||Liberal Democrats||James Ashley was Lord Mayor of Manchester from 17 May 2006 to 12 August 2006. He died in office at age 66.|
|1997-2011||Simon Ashley||Liberal Democrats|
|2011-2014||Simon Wheale||Liberal Democrats|
|2014-2018||Vacant||N/A||Labour held 96/96 seats 2014-2016, John Leech was the sole opposition member from 2016-18.|
|2018-||John Leech||Liberal Democrats||John Leech was Deputy Leader of the Opposition 1998-2005, MP for Manchester Withington 2005-15.|
- Carol Culley (2015-)
- Sir Joseph Heron, 1838-1889
- Sir Philip Burrington Dingle (1906–1978), Town Clerk of Manchester: 1944–66.
|Blackley and Broughton||Manchester Gorton||Wythenshawe and Sale East|
|Manchester Central||Manchester Withington|
Each ward is represented by three councillors.
|Parliamentary constituency||Ward||Councillor||Party||Term of office|
|Blackley and Broughton
|Higher Blackley||Paula Sadler||Labour||2019-23|
|Ancoats and Beswick||Mohammed Majid Dar||Labour||2019-23|
|Clayton and Openshaw||Sean McHale||Labour||2019-23|
|Marcus Johns||Labour Co-op||2018-21|
|Miles Platting and Newton Heath||John Flanagan||Labour||2019-23|
|Moss Side||Mahadi Hussein Sharif Mahamed||Labour||2019-23|
|Ali R. Ilyas||Labour||2019-22|
|Gorton and Abbey Hey||Afia Kamal||Labour||2019-23|
|Whalley Range||Angeliki Stogia||Labour Co-op||2019-23|
|Chorlton Park||Dave Rawson||Labour||2019-23|
|Didsbury East||James Wilson||Labour Co-op||2019-23|
|Didsbury West||Greg Stanton||Labour||2019-23|
|Richard Kilpatrick||Liberal Democrats||2018-21|
|John Leech||Liberal Democrats||2018-22|
|Old Moat||Garry Bridges||Labour||2019-23|
|Chris Wills||Labour Co-op||2018-21|
|Wythenshawe and Sale East
|Tracy Rawlins||Labour Co-op||2018-21|
|Paul Andrews||Labour Co-op||2018-22|
|Sharston||Tim Whiston||Labour Co-op||2019-23|
|Tommy Judge||Labour Co-op||2018-22|
|Woodhouse Park||Edward Newman||Labour||2019-23|
- Frangopulo, Nicholas J. (1969). Rich inheritance: a guide to the history of Manchester. Wakefield: S.R. Publishers. pp. 59–72. ISBN 9780854095506. Reprinted by Manchester Education Committee (1962).
- Staff writer (8 May 2015). "Election 2015: Labour gains total control of Manchester City Council". BBC News. Retrieved 31 May 2015.
- Fitzgerald, Todd (6 May 2016). "Manchester local election results 2016: John Leech ends Labour's total grip on the town hall". Manchester Evening News. Archived from the original on 17 August 2016. Retrieved 6 April 2017.
- Staff writer (7 March 2017). "Councillor kevin Peel suspended from Manchester Council's Labour group". Manchester Gazette. Archived from the original on 8 March 2017. Retrieved 7 January 2018.
- Williams, Jennifer (24 July 2019). "Manchester councillor suspended amid anti-semitism investigation". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 25 July 2019.
- Frangopulo, Nicholas J. (1969). Rich inheritance: a guide to the history of Manchester. Wakefield: S.R. Publishers. p. 59. ISBN 9780854095506.
p. II (note by W. H. Shercliff)Reprinted by Manchester Education Committee (1962).
- Manchester Corporation v Manchester Palace of Varieties Ltd, P 133;  1 All ER 387
- Squibb, G. D. (1997) . The High Court of Chivalry: a study of the civil law in England. Oxford New York: Clarendon Press Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780198251408.
- Williams, Jennifer (30 April 2013). "Manchester council threat to sue website over coat of arms". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 30 November 2013.
- News Desk (17 October 2013). "New website header". Manchester Gazette. Archived from the original on 20 October 2013. Retrieved 30 November 2013.
- "Manchester City Council leader steps down after assault". BBC News. 14 April 2010.
- Carter, Helen (14 April 2010). "Manchester council leader Richard Leese cautioned over stepdaughter assault". The Guardian. London.
- "Councillor Kevin Peel suspended from Manchester Labour Group - WriteYou - the Social Newspaper". www.writeyou.co.uk. Retrieved 19 July 2018.
- "We need to talk about Kevin (Peel). | Shamballa By Sara". shamballabysara.se (in Swedish). Retrieved 19 July 2018.
- "Manchester launches Housing First scheme as rough sleeping row erupts". The Big Issue. 14 February 2019. Retrieved 19 April 2019.
- Williams, Jennifer (12 February 2019). "'Aggressive' begging and public urination could soon be punished with £100 fines". men. Retrieved 19 April 2019.
- Leech, John (12 February 2019). "I want to be absolutely crystal clear; Liberal Democrat councillors in Manchester will oppose this crap until the end of time". twitter.com. Retrieved 19 April 2019.
- Williams, Jennifer (8 March 2019). "Manchester council meeting kicks off with blazing row over 'Lib Dem cuts' poster". men. Retrieved 19 April 2019.
- "Jennifer Williams (@JenWilliamsMEN) - Twitter". twitter.com. Retrieved 19 April 2019.
- Barlow, Nigel (8 March 2019). "Karnage at the council budget meeting". aboutmanchester.co.uk. Retrieved 19 April 2019.
- Henry Zeffman, Kate Devlin (15 April 2019). "Labour antisemitism: Israeli flag made party candidate 'feel sick'". Retrieved 19 April 2019 – via www.thetimes.co.uk.
- Reporter, Jewish News. "Labour candidate 'sorry' for saying sight of Israeli flag made her 'feel sick'". jewishnews.timesofisrael.com. Retrieved 19 April 2019.
- Editor (21 June 2012). "Richard Paver on cuts, borrowing and derivatives". Room 151 – Local Government Treasury, Technical & Strategic Finance. Longview Productions Ltd. Retrieved 12 August 2015.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
- Asa Briggs, Victorian Cities, University of California Press, 1965, p. 238
- "Dingle, Sir Philip (Burrington)". Oxford Biography Index.
- "All councillors". Manchester City Council. Government of the United Kingdom. Retrieved 6 January 2018.
- Elected as Liberal Democrat
- McKechnie, H. M. (ed.) (1915) Manchester in Nineteen Hundred and Fifteen. Manchester U. P.; "Undertakings of the City Council; Social Amelioration in Manchester; Elementary Education in Manchester; Secondary Schools in Manchester; The Evening School System of Manchester", by E. D. Simon, et al.
- Manchester City Council. "Concilio et Labore" Series. No. 1-11. (Each pamphlet describes part of the council's work, e.g. no. 4: the City Treasurer.
- Redford, Arthur (1939) The History of City Government in Manchester; Vol. 2 & 3: Borough and City; The Last Half Century.
- Simon, Ernest D. (1926) A City Council from Within. London: Longmans, Green
- Simon, Shena D. (1938) A Century of City Government: Manchester 1838–1938. London: G. Allen & Unwin
- Tomlinson, H. E. (1943) "The Heraldry of Manchester" in: Bulletin of the John Rylands Library; vol. XXVIII, pp. 207–27