Tory candidate Andy Street wins first West Midlands mayoral election

Labour's Siôn Simon lost by 4,000 votes

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Indy Politics

The Conservative candidate Andy Street has been elected as the first mayor of the West Midlands combined authority.

Mr Street, a former managing director of John Lewis, narrowly beat his Labour opponent Siôn Simon by 238,628 votes to 234,862.

The Tory politician led Mr Simon in the first round of voting, and though Mr Simon won more second preference votes his share was not enough to overturn the Conservative lead.

Hailing his victory, the Conservative mayor said: “What we’ve seen here today is what I would call the rebirth of a new urban Conservative agenda”.

Mr Street is reported to have spent as much as £1m on his campaign, dwarfing the spending power of his opponents.

The West Midlands metropolitan borough includes Birmingham, Coventry, and Wolverhampton, as well as Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, and Walsall.

Mr Simon told the BBC: “I won't pretend that we didn't hear coming back from the doorsteps of the areas that we did win a message from Labour voters that their confidence is waning in our strength as a party in their traditional Labour values.

“The issues that came back on the doorstep were about values, our regional campaign overshadowed by national political issues all the time. We should have been talking about transport and housing, about taking back control of our region from Westminster but we ended up talking about defence and immigration.”

Labour won the mayoralties of Liverpool City Region and Greater Manchester, but lost Teesside and Cambridge-Peterborough. 

In concurrent council elections, the Conservatives made big gains at the expense of Ukip and Labour and had gained control of nearly a dozen new councils as of 6pm on results day.

The projected national council election vote share for the Conservatives in is 38 per cent to Labour’s 27 per cent, the Lib Dems’ 18 per cent and UKIP’s 5 per cent.

Overall the Conservatives won over 500 extra council seats, Labour lost nearly 400, the Lib Dems lost nearly 30 and Ukip was down almost 150. The Greens and plaid Cymru were up by 6 and 33 respectively, with the SNP down 7.