Hanging on the word of Manchester's amateur weatherman

Plus: The city's political weather changes overnight as Sir Richard Leese steps down

Dear Millers — for a few months we have been planning to publish an in-depth profile of Sir Richard Leese, the man who has led Manchester City Council since the mid-1990s. We wanted to understand more about who he is and how he has shaped the city and the destiny of Greater Manchester. His team agreed to two hour-long interviews for the piece — one today and one a bit later in the year.

Well, the timing of our first meeting has become very interesting. Last night, Leese announced that he is stepping down as leader after 25 years, releasing a short video in which he said it has been “an enormous privilege to serve this city.” When the MEN asked him why he was quitting, he told the paper: "There are a number of reasons but the bottom line is I don't want to do it anymore. I don't want to do 60 hour weeks and 12 hour days."

We met Leese in his office at lunchtime, where he was eating salad by his desk as we came in. He told us he’s been declining news interviews today, but kept our appoin…

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