Andy Street promises to help region bounce back after West Midlands Mayor win

Andy Street will serve a second term as West Midlands Mayor after comfortably holding off the challenge of Labour.

Andy Street speaks in Birmingham after the result was announced
Andy Street speaks in Birmingham after the result was announced

The former John Lewis boss won on second preference ballots after falling just short of the 50 per cent vote required to claim a first round victory.

The Conservative received 314,669 votes over the two rounds, which put him 47,043 ahead of Labour's Liam Byrne after the run-off and saw him increase his vote share from 50.4 per cent in 2017 to 54 per cent this year.

Steve Caudwell of the Green Party came third with 35,559 votes, while Lib Dem Jenny Wilkinson was fourth on 21,836 and Reform UK's Pete Durnell brought up the rear on 13,568.

Following his victory, Mr Street said he was committed to making a fast start on spearheading the region's post-pandemic recovery.

He said: "We've got no time to waste in addressing some of the underlying issues that have been exposed by Covid.

"But equally, there is absolutely no question that this place will bounce back strongly and that we will create what I call a dynamic, meritocratic, and of course inclusive society."

Mr Byrne said the result was "a bitter blow".

"This defeat is my responsibility," he added.

Liam Byrne said the defeat was his responsibility

"In the weeks ahead, I'll tell the full astonishing story of this groundbreaking campaign but today, I simply say this, do not be downhearted because if we lose heart, our country loses hope.

"We may have lost a battle today but there will be no surrender in our fight to build back stronger and fairer and greener."

The result completed a hat-trick of big election wins for the Conservatives, after the party won the Hartlepool by-election and the Tees Valley mayoral election.

Voting took place across the seven West Midlands Combined Authority areas on Thursday and the result was announced today at the Utilita Arena Birmingham.

Defeat for Mr Byrne – who had predicted he would win the election comfortably – piles more pressure on Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, who is already reeling after a series of blows at the ballot box yesterday.

They included local elections in Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton, where the Tories gained 31 seats to continue the blue surge that saw 10 Conservative MPs win in the Black Country at the 2019 general election.

Votes were counted at the Utilita Arena in Birmingham

Mr Byrne won in Birmingham by 17,459 votes and was 5,171 ahead in Sandwell.

But he struggled in other areas. In Walsall Mr Street won by 15,887. He received 32,149 more votes than his Labour opponent in Solihull and won by 28,847 in Dudley.

The Conservative also won in Wolverhampton by 2,795 votes and was just 978 behind in Labour-run Coventry.

The turnout was 31.23 per cent, up from 26.7 per cent in 2017.

It comes after senior Labour figures including Lord Adonis and Len McCluskey questioned Sir Keir's leadership, while MPs in the West Midlands insisted he should be given more time to turn things around.

Birmingham MP Khalid Mahmood, who quit the shadow frontbench, said the party had abandoned working class people and had been captured by "brigades of woke social media warriors".

Shadow Minister Pat McFadden, the MP for Wolverhampton South East, said Sir Keir deserved the chance to bring in the changes needed for Labour to become an electoral force.

In the region's first mayoral election in 2017 Mr Street edged home in the final round, beating Labour's Sion Simon by 0.8 per cent.

Labour fared better in other mayoral elections, with Andy Burnham set to serve a second term after winning in Manchester, and former MP Dan Norris taking over from the Tories in the West of England.

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