Remembering Peter Smith, a quiet giant of Greater Manchester politics
'Peter put down his bacon sandwich, took a sip of tea and asked: “What are you in politics for if not to do the big stuff?”'
Dear Millers — today’s story is about a towering figure in the life of Greater Manchester who died last month: Lord Peter Smith, the former leader of Wigan Council. The piece is by Mike Emmerich, a longtime Mill member who worked with Smith during the devolution process and went to his funeral recently. Mike is a former Treasury and Downing Street advisor and is a founding director of the consultancy Metro Dynamics.
Peter Smith was born in July 1945 and went to Bolton School and then the London School of Economics. He was a member of Wigan council from 1978, and was leader from 1991 until 2018. From 2011 until Tony Lloyd’s appointment as the interim mayor of Greater Manchester in 2015, Smith chaired the Greater Manchester Combined Authority. He died on the 2nd of August at the age of 76. Responding to his death, Andy Burnham said:
Peter was one of a small number of people who built Greater Manchester into what it is today and, as such, helped lay the foundations for the devolution tha…