ANDY Burnham is stepping down as Leigh's MP.

The former shadow home secretary is hoping to become the first elected mayor of Greater Manchester next month.

But even if he fails to be elected on May 4 he has decided not to stand in the upcoming general election.

Prime Minister Theresa May has called a snap general election on June 8, with the motion being approved by MPs in Parliament this afternoon.

She needed two thirds of MPs to back her plan to bring the 2020 election forward.

The vote was 522 to 13 in her favour.

Mr Burnham said: “The general election comes just after the mayoral elections and changes my plans a little bit.

“It is a difficult decision and a real wrench for me but I won’t stand in the general election regardless of if I win or lose.

"The timings do not work and Labour need a candidate in place.

“I genuinely believe I will be able to do more for Leigh as mayor of Greater Manchester than as the town's MP.

“As Leigh's MP for 16 years it has been hard to get the Government to sit up and take notice.

“I feel a bit heartbroken as the people of Leigh have been so good for me.

"You could not have a greater privilege than representing them.”

Labour need to nominate Mr Burnham's replacement to represent Leigh in the general election by the deadline of May 11.

Mr Burnham says the party will be making an announcement regarding his replacement 'in the coming days'.

He would not reveal the exact date he will be stepping down.

In calling for the general election to be brought forward by three years, Mrs May said Britain needs certainty, stability and strong leadership following the EU referendum.

Mr Burnham is firmly against the move, accusing the Conservative Party of putting 'its own interests before the national interest'.

He said: “I don’t think the country wants another period of political uncertainty.

“It is about securing the interests of the Tory party rather than the country."

Atherton Conservative MP Chris Green is in favour of a general election taking place this summer.

He believes it is needed as the aftermath of the Brexit decision has made the 'world a different place' to the one the Conservative Party was elected to govern in 2015.

"We need a new election and to allow the Government of the day to obtain a new mandate and manifesto for this changed world," Mr Green said.

"I am really pleased Theresa May is giving this to the country.

"It will give opposition the chance to support the country and set out its stall."

Mr Green is confident of retaining his seat at Westminster.

"I am hoping the work I have done over the past two years in the whole of the constituency will be remembered when people make their votes," he said.

"I am confident I will retain my seat but you can never take the electorate for granted."