Labour hail 'incredible result' as party claims victory in West Midlands mayoral race

Labour has claimed victory in the battle for West Midlands mayor which went down to the wire.

Incumbent Tory Andy Street's hopes of securing a third term in office have been dashed and delivered a major blow to Rishi Sunak in the key electoral battleground.

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Labour's candidate Richard Parker appeared to be all smiles with party members and supporters in Birmingham, where the result was set to be announced.

He posed for photographs while smiling with supporters close to the podium where the winner will be announced, but then declined to smile when asked to pose for the media.

Former West Midlands mayoral candidate and MP for Birmingham's Hodge Hill, Liam Byrne, posted a picture on social media of himself and Mr Parker smiling with their arms raised in an apparent celebration.

Congratulating the Labour candidate Richard Parker, the party deputy national campaign co-ordinator Ellie Reeves posted on X: "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."

In the end it came down to the results of one borough - Labour-supporting Sandwell.

The outcome of the contest is critical to Rishi Sunak after a hammering in the local elections, which saw the Conservative Party lose more than half of its councillors who stood for re-election across England.

It threatens to ramp back up the pressure on the prime minister, who was hoping for a repeat of the success enjoyed by Conservative Ben Houchen who held on as the mayor of Tees Valley and to dampen rumblings of rebellion among some Tory MPs.

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Former Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson in the Electoral Dysfunction podcast said the rebels who want to move against Mr Sunak and change leader "would have a huge amount of fuel" if the party lost "one or other or both of Teeside and West Midlands".

Mr Street had sought to distance himself from the Conservative brand during his campaign and instead ran on a personal platform.

Sky News recently revealed Mr Street was sending out election literature with an endorsement from former prime minister Boris Johnson which urged people to "forget about the government".

His campaign website also made no mention of Mr Sunak on its homepage and was coloured in green rather than Conservative blue.

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