Andy Street has won the race to become the new West Midlands mayor in a huge triumph for the Conservatives. Street’s victory was narrow – by only a few thousand votes out of the half-a-million or so cast – but his success is extraordinary for the Tories on a day of sweeping wins for the party across the country.
Labour are already trying to spin this election as being hard-fought from the outset. The shadow chancellor John McDonnell has said that it was ‘always going to be close’. But make no mistake: this is an embarrassment for Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour party. Street beat Labour’s Sion Simon on what should have been the party’s own turf, with Labour currently holding 21 out of the 28 Westminster seats in the West Midlands area. As James Forsyth points out, in normal times you’d have this mayoral contest marked down as a shoe-in for Labour. With Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader, these rules have gone out the window. If Andy Street’s victory today is anything to go on, the Tories are sure to give Labour a run for their money in the region come June 8th.