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Four out of five bets back Conservative West Midlands mayor candidate

More than four out of every five bets placed on the West Midlands mayoral election have been for the Tory candidate, bookies have revealed.

Four out of five bets back Conservative West Midlands mayor candidate

The region is due to elect its first mayor in May, who will head the West Midlands Combined Authority and preside over huge tranches of funding for housing, transport and infrastructure.

The race for mayor is a five-way battle, featuring Labour MEP Siôn Simon, former John Lewis boss Andy Street for the Tories, Birmingham businesswoman Beverley Nielsen for the Lib Dems, Solihull councillor James Burn representing the Green Party and UKIP's Pete Durnell.

And as far as the bookies are concerned it has been one-way traffic up to now, with 84 per cent of all bets wagered on the Conservative candidate.

Alex Donohue, a spokesman for Ladbrokes, described the proportion of bets placed on Mr Street as 'striking'.

He added: "Political punters are convinced Andy Street is set to become the next West Midlands Mayor. At the moment opposition to him from a betting perspective is very thin on the ground."

Mr Street stepped down from his £1.5 million a year position as John Lewis managing director in September to run for mayor.

At the time he was considered the outsider for the role at odds of 2/1. But he is now available to back at a best price of 1/2, with Mr Simon 6/4 and Ms Nielsen 50/1.

Voters in Dudley, Walsall, Sandwell, Wolverhampton, Birmingham, Coventry and Solihull will elect the region's mayor.

It is part of a string of devolution deals across the country that will see central government handing over greater powers to the regions. Chancellor Philip Hammond has pledged £36.5m a year over 30 years for the West Midlands.

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