Gary Neville joins Labour party as he refuses to rule out running for Manchester mayor

14 January 2022, 16:33 | Updated: 14 January 2022, 16:36

Gary Neville has joined the Labour party.
Gary Neville has joined the Labour party. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

Football pundit Gary Neville has joined the Labour party, also refusing to rule out running for Manchester mayor.

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Former England defender Gary has been a vocal critic of the the Tory Government, having most recently said, amid the partygate scandal, that No10 should be renamed "Hacienda", in reference to The Hacienda, a famous Manchester nightclub.

Speaking on the Political Thinking podcast, Mr Neville said: "I have joined the Labour party in the last few days. I want to support Labour.

"I do believe that we need a progressive Labour party, but one that actually not just looks after the left side; it has to come towards the centre."

Following the announcement, Anneliese Dodds, who is shadow women and equalities secretary and chairwoman of the Labour party, welcomed Mr Neville to the party.

She tweeted: "A very warm welcome to Labour [Gary Neville].

"Great to have you on the red team."

Shadow culture secretary Lucy Powell also gave the former footballer a warm welcome, saying she was "very pleased" to hear he had joined.

"Very pleased [Gary Neville] has finally joined Labour.

"It's something he and I have been discussing for a while."

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Ms Powell also hinted that Mr Neville could have a political career in store, indirectly addressing reports that he is not "ruling out" running for mayor in Manchester.

She said: "Personally think he's more than capable of navigating (well, steaming) his way through the world of politics! Look forward to helping."

It came after The Sun said Mr Neville told the BBC he thought he would "get eaten alive" in politics.

"I can only imagine what you have to do [in Westminster] to survive and I don't play the game, so how can I get in?" he added.

"So, when I ask myself the question do you want to dip your toes in, I can't dip my toes in because I'm all or nothing. I go in and I'm going in."

The paper said that, when pressed on whether that would mean running for public office, he replied: "I don't know at the moment."

He added: "No, I'll just continue to do this, I think. People would say why are you using your influence to try and turn people?

"Actually, at this moment in time, I'd go more quiet if this current regime that's in left.

"They're very damaging to the standards that we have in this country and around the world."