Labour defeats Andy Street to take West Midlands mayoralty after Sadiq Khan waltzed to win in London

4 May 2024, 20:37 | Updated: 4 May 2024, 21:23

Labour's Richard Parker has defeated Conservative Andy Street to win the West Midlands mayoralty in a major shock.
Labour's Richard Parker has defeated Conservative Andy Street to win the West Midlands mayoralty in a major shock. Picture: Alamy

By Chay Quinn

Labour's Richard Parker has defeated Conservative Andy Street to win the West Midlands mayoralty by just 1,508 votes.

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After a recount in Coventry, it was confirmed that Mr Parker garnered 225,590 votes to beat Mr Street's 224,082.

The result is a major upset and will intensify fears of a Tory wipeout in the general election.

11 of the 12 metropolitan mayors in England are Labour.

Read More: Local elections LIVE: Labour 'wins West Midlands mayoralty' in major shock after Khan and Burnham victories

It was perhaps the biggest victory in a series of wins for Labour in the local elections.

Mr Street had attempted to distance himself from the Conservatives during the campaign - but looks like he will become the highest profile casualty of a dismal local elections for his party.

Defeated Conservative Andy Street (left) listens to Labour's Richard Parker speaking as he is elected as the new Mayor of West Midlands, following the count at the International Convention Centre in Birmingham. Picture date: Saturday May 4, 2024.
Defeated Conservative Andy Street (left) listens to Labour's Richard Parker speaking as he is elected as the new Mayor of West Midlands, following the count at the International Convention Centre in Birmingham. Picture date: Saturday May 4, 2024. Picture: Alamy

He was a very vocal opponent to his own party's decision to scrap HS2's link from Birmingham to Manchester.

At the start of his victory speech, Mr Parker first led a round of applause for his opponent and predecessor.

A tearful Mr Parker then thanked his wife and family, before saying: "This is the most important thing I will ever do.

"They recognise that a Labour mayor can make a difference in this region.

"We will give this region the fresh start it richly deserves."

The winner was confirmed around five hours later than expected - after a full recount was ordered in Coventry.

In his concession, Andy Street said: "I hope I have bequeathed Richard a Combined Authority and a role that aspiring leaders will want and aspire to.

He signed off with: "Thank you and good night."

Labour's Richard Parker speaks as he is elected as the new Mayor of West Midlands, following the count at the International Convention Centre in Birmingham. Picture date: Saturday May 4, 2024.
Labour's Richard Parker speaks as he is elected as the new Mayor of West Midlands, following the count at the International Convention Centre in Birmingham. Picture date: Saturday May 4, 2024. Picture: Alamy

Mr Parker paid tribute to his predecessor.

At the podium, the new Labour mayor said: “You deserve credit for building up the Combined Authority into the powerhouse it is today, through the economic shocks and leading this region through Covid..."

"I absolutely believe that while our politics are different, Andy, we both have the best interests of the West Midlands at heart,” he added.

Sir Keir Starmer, the Labour leader, said: “This phenomenal result was beyond our expectations. People across the country have had enough of Conservative chaos and decline and voted for change with Labour.

"Our fantastic new mayor Richard Parker stands ready to deliver a fresh start for the West Midlands.

“My changed Labour party is back in the service of working people, and stands ready to govern.

"Labour will turn the page after fourteen years of Tory decline and usher in a decade of national renewal. That change starts today.”

Starmer
Sir Keir Starmer, the Labour leader, said: “This phenomenal result was beyond our expectations. People across the country have had enough of Conservative chaos and decline and voted for change with Labour.". Picture: Alamy

Labour's deputy national campaign co-ordinator and Lewisham MP Ellie Reeves posted on X: "Congratulations @RichParkerLab.

"An incredible result and significant victory.

"Right across the country people have voted for change and the message is clear...

"It's time for a General Election and a Labour govt to get our country's future back."

Labour's Jon Ashworth spoke of his shock at the result.

Mr Ashworth wrote on X: "Bloody hell fire, what a tremendous victory for @RichParkerLab and earlier @MayorofLondon - and all the clever cloggs on the X here turned out to be right draft aipuths."

The result came hours after rumours of a Tory victory in London were dashed with a massive victory for Sadiq Khan.

Mr Khan won with 43.7% of the vote, while Ms Hall Conservative rival took 32.6%. Turnout was 40.5%, which is slightly down compared with 2021.

In total, Mr Khan amassed 1,088,225 votes, compared to Ms Hall's 811,518.

It means Mr Khan has become the first person to serve a third term as London Mayor.

Local elections LIVE: Sadiq Khan and Andy Burnham storm to victory in London and Manchester mayoral races

Mr Khan was met with boos as he took to the stage after his re-election was announced.

Speaking at City Hall, Mr Khan said: "Thank you from the bottom of my heart, thank you London."

At that point, a man walked onto the stage and chanted "Khan killed London".

The crowd was warned that security would remove people who disrupt the speeches.

Conservative sources had initially suggested that it was possible Ms Hall had pulled off an upset.

Labour also admitted the race was tight, but once counting got under way at 9am this morning, it became clear Mr Khan had secured a historic third term.

Read More: Rishi’s rallying cry: Sunak insists ‘everything to fight for’ despite bloodbath for Tories in local election

Read More: Labour hails local election wins but Sunak says public will 'stick with' Tories at general election despite poor results

There were significant swings from Conservative to Labour, including the North East (6.9%).

Ms Hall had hoped Mr Khan's Ulez expansion would increase her vote share in outer London.

However, Mr Khan won in South West London by 77,011 votes to Ms Hall's 68,856 votes.

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