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Labour’s Richard Parker Wins West Midlands Mayor Race Ousting Tory Andy Street

Andy Street (Alamy)

3 min read

Labour’s Richard Parker has been elected West Midlands mayor, beating Conservative incumbent Andy Street in a tight race that came down to the wire.

Parker's victory represents a significant blow to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's authority after his party managed to hang onto Ben Houchen in Tees Valley on Saturday. Nonetheless Tory MPs do not believe a leadership challenge will be made against the prime minister.

Parker defeated Street by around just 1,500 votes, it was announced on Saturday night, in a contest so close that multiple re-counts took place and led to the result being delayed.

Speaking after his victory, Parker said: "This is the most important thing I will ever do. This week, the people voted for the person and the party. They recognised a Labour mayor can make a positive difference."

A result for the West Midlands mayor had been expected on Saturday afternoon but was delayed after a full recount was ordered in the city of Coventry. Labour sources had said calls for a recount were beginning to emerge before 4pm on Saturday while Tories indicated the result was far too close for comfort for them.

Defeat for the Conservatives represents a decisive change in the West Midlands where Street has held the mayoralty since its creation in 2017. In 2021 he won on the second round of voting with 54 per cent of the vote compared to Labour’s candidate Liam Byrne with 46 per cent.

In a speech of his own, Street said "in the end, it was not to be".

The defeated Tory said: I" hope I have done it with dignity and integrity, and I hope I’ve bequeathed to Richard a role which young aspiring leaders will want to aspire to one day. I could have done no more than that.”

The result marked the end of a dire set of local election results for the Conservative party and will put added pressure on Prime Minister Sunak given Tory figures had talked up the West Midlands result as a key contest for the party.

Nationally the Conservatives remain significantly behind in the national polls. YouGov have the Conservatives on 20 per cent and Labour on 45 per cent.

Parker was selected as Labour candidate in April 2023. He was previously a partner for PwC after having worked for the company for more than three decades.

Opinion polls found that the vote in the region was on a knife edge. YouGov on Monday said the election was too close to call and put Street two points ahead of Parker.

Prior to the vote, Parker told PoliticsHome he believed politics in the region was changing and claimed his operation was not paying too close attention to opinion polling.

"We think the politics in this region are changing but we also know the key thing will be for people to vote, so we're genuinely not taking notice of the polls, we just need to know that we need to campaign hard and get the people that want to vote for us to vote for Labour,” he said.

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