CONSERVATIVE Andy Street has been returned as West Midlands Mayor for a second term.
Earlier today, at the end of the count of first votes, Mr Street had 299,318 which meant he had 49 per cent of the vote, putting him just one per cent off a straight victory.
Labour’s Liam Byrne in second had 244,009.
It took the election to the second choice tallies – taken from all the other parties apart from the top two – and after that, Mr Street had 314,669 and Mr Byrne finished on 267,626.
After being elected he thanked the team of election officials, along with his fellow candidates Mr Byrne, Steve Caudwell (Green Party) Jenny Wilkinson (Lib Dem) and Pete Durnell (Reform UK).
Thanking the electorate for putting their faith in him, he added: “Next I’d like to say a little about teamwork, as there is no doubt that this is a victory for The Conservative team across the West Midlands.
“Over the last five years we’ve been building that team – our MPs, councillors, the professionals, and of course the hundreds of volunteers who serve their communities, day after day. It’s been an honour to work with you and indeed see so many more of you elected yesterday.
“Thank you for your confidence in me.”
He added the success went well beyond the Conservative team and thanked everyone else who had ‘come on board’ and ‘shared the vision for and had belief in the renewal of the West Midlands’.
It’s that growing sense of unity and purpose that makes me certain we will succeed.
Mr Street added the West Midlands faced serious challenges after the impact of Covid and we had no time to waste in addressing ‘deep-seated issues exposed by the pandemic’.
“But equally there is no question that the West Midlands will bounce back strongly, and that we will create the dynamic, meritocratic, inclusive society we all crave.”
He cited the West Midlands had a history of defiance, and rebounding after shocks and natural advantages, including the youth, diversity and ingenuity which defined big urban areas.
“And now we have clear, ambitious plans for jobs, for investment in transport, housing, skills, and protection of the environment and the support of a Prime Minister and Government firm in their belief in ‘levelling up’.
He concluded by saying he was determined that all communities across the West Midlands would share in the success.