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Photography by Katie O'Neill & Beth Wilson

Bev Craig is Leader Manchester City Council, taking over the role from Sir Richard Leese in December 2021. Bev is the first woman to lead the city and one of the few openly gay women to run a city council.

First elected in 2011 as a Burnage Councillor, she held a range of responsibilities on Manchester City Council, including serving for four years as Executive Member for Adult Social Care, Health and Wellbeing, then as Deputy Leader overseeing resources, capital programmes, social value and digital.

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Manchester City Council Leader, Councillor Bev Craig

Born and raised on a council estate just outside of Belfast, she was the first in her family to go to university, moving to Manchester in 2003 to study and making it her home. After graduating from the University of Manchester with a degree in politics and modern history she began her career in local government, before working in higher education and then a national trade union leading on social care. Alongside working full time, Bev completed postgraduate degrees at Warwick Business School and the University of Manchester.


I grew up in social housing and my family still rely on it. I know the value of [what] the safety net of a good quality home can give you when times are tough.

Council leader Sir Richard Leese with Burnage winning candidates Carl Austin and Bev Craig

2001 council elections - Burnage winning candidates Bev Craig & Carl Austin-Behan with Sir Richard Leese

As Executive Member for Adults, Health and Wellbeing she led the city of Manchester's COVID health and community response, managing the crisis and focusing on a more equal recovery, and has championed the City’s work to become a Living Wage City. Bev became Deputy Leader of Manchester City Council in May 2021. Now as Leader, her focus is on Manchester’s ambitious COVID recovery, the importance of building a more inclusive and sustainable economy, children and young people, equalities, housing and zero carbon. Bev is also Greater Manchester Combined Authority portfolio lead for Digital and Education, Skills, Work and Apprenticeships.

Outside of politics she enjoys sports and being outdoors, music, culture and enjoying all that Manchester has to offer.

As leader I’ll be looking forward to the city’s exciting new chapter, as we continue building a truly exciting world class city which puts our people first and where all of our residents can share in its success.


THE SHOOT: St Peter's Square 

Civic spaces - The Town Hall Extension & Manchester Central LIbrary

Student reflection: Beth Wilson


This was my first Greater Mancunians shoot and I was a little nervous working with someone I had never met before. We arrived early to check out possible spaces in St Peter’s Square, to ensure the shoot went as smooth as possible


Bev was amazing to work with, she was so friendly and helpful and easy to direct. We started the photography at the Cenotaph at the far end of the Square and then at the iconic arches of the Town Hall Extension. The weather was overcast but bright… perfect for portraiture. We then moved on to the famous red telephone boxes, which gave us a splash of colour before completing the shoot in front of Manchester Central Library.

I was extremely pleased with the images from the shoot. They manage to capture Bev’s friendly personality in a perfect civic setting. The shoot has now given me amazing confidence to work with new people in the future.

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Katie, Bev & Beth

The Shoot

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