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Labour Triumphs in West Midlands Mayoral Race: Andy Street’s Personal Campaign Fails to Sway Voters



In a surprising turn of events, Andy Street, a Conservative, lost the West Midlands mayoral race to Labour,">king a setback for Rishi Sunak. During his campaign, Mr. Street attempted to separate his image from the broader Conservative Party identity, choosing to campaign on his individual merits and drawing attention to his endorsement by ex-Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

By Andy Hayes, journalism correspondent

Saturday, May 4, 2024, 11:

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In a surprising turn of events, Conservative incumbent Andy Street was defeated by Labour in the West Midlands mayoral race following a partial recount.

Richard Parker of the Labour Party narrowly defeated Mr. Street by a margin of 1,508 votes, or 0.25%, dealing a significant setback to Rishi Sunak in a crucial electoral area, following a defeat in the local elections.

The competition was extremely close, and ultimately, the outcome hinged on the voting results from the Labour-leaning borough of Sandwell.

"Accepting this role is the pinnacle of my career," Mr. Parker declared during his speech.

"He assured everyone of his commitment to creating employment opportunities," he added.

He informed Sky News of his plans to return buses to public ownership and implement the most extensive social housing initiative the area has seen in over four decades.

He expressed gratitude towards his predecessor, acknowledging that he had successfully navigated the region through many significant challenges, and credited him for his commendable leadership.

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Mr. Street expressed to Sky News his deep personal disappointment, noting that he had given his utmost effort and truly felt that significant advancements were being made throughout the area.

He declared the campaign was entirely his own, stating, "I'm not looking to shift blame to anyone. You won't see me shirking responsibility."

He extended his best wishes for strength and wisdom to his successor.

Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer stated, "These elections are incredibly significant – they are the final ones before the next general election."

"We needed to demonstrate our advancement, and we've successfully shown that we are indeed progressing."

Live Coverage: Municipal Mayoral Race Results

Ellie Reeves, who serves as the deputy national campaign coordinator for Labour, described the win as "significant."

She stated: "Throughout the nation, the electorate has opted for transformation, and the message is unmistakable – we need a general election and a Labour administration to reclaim our country's future."

In a significant electoral victory, Labour's Sadiq Khan has been reelected as London's mayor for an unprecedented third term, decisively defeating Conservative challenger Susan Hall.

Rishi Sunak expressed disappointment over the loss of committed Conservative councillors and Andy Street in the West Midlands.

However, he emphasized that "our country is making a significant turn."

The prime minister stated: "Our strategy is effective as inflation has decreased by over 50%, tax reductions averaging £900 are benefiting individuals financially, state pensions remain secure under our triple lock system, and our Rwanda legislation has been enacted, permitting the detention of undocumented migrants in preparation for initial departures. Additionally, legal migration has decreased while defense expenditures have increased."

These outcomes are likely to intensify scrutiny on Mr. Sunak, who had anticipated a similar victory to that achieved by Conservative Ben Houchen, who successfully retained his position as the mayor of Tees Valley.

Sam Coates, the deputy political editor at Sky News, reported observing messages shared within a WhatsApp group of Conservative MPs.

Former cabinet minister Simon Clarke, who, according to Coates, is eager for Rishi Sunak to step down, remarked, "These outcomes are terrible and ought to serve as a significant alarm."

"If we run the same type of campaign in the upcoming general election, we can expect the same results, if not poorer."

"Increasing the number of candidates fielded by Reform UK will likely lead to more significant repercussions

Explore further: Identifying the victors and the defeatedVisuals depict the downturn of the ConservativesCommentary: The uncertain path ahead for Labour

On the Electoral Dysfunction podcast, former Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson commented that if the Conservatives were to lose control of either the Teesside or West Midlands mayoral positions, it would significantly empower those within the party pushing for a leadership change.

Mr. Street, aiming for a third term, attempted to separate himself from the Conservative label throughout his campaign, choosing to focus on his own individual agenda.

Sky News reported that Mr. Street had been distributing campaign materials featuring a recommendation from ex-Prime Minister Boris Johnson, which encouraged the public to "disregard the government."

The homepage of his campaign website did not feature Mr. Sunak and was designed using green instead of the traditional Conservative blue.

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