Labour hail 'incredible result' as claim 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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The request by the Tories for a recount in Coventry had indicated they were looking for more votes.

But Mr Parker finished top in the area securing 32,704 votes to Mr Street's 23,237.

While this still leaves Mr Street with an overall lead of 11,455 votes or 2.2 percentage points, the gap between the pair has closed with only Sandwell - a traditional Labour-supporting area - still to call.

Sky News estimates Labour needs to lead the Tories by 16.3 percentage points in Sandwell to win the West Midlands mayoralty.

That is more than double their lead in Sandwell at the previous mayoral election in 2021, when they led by 7.7 points based on first preferences.

Notably, the independent candidate in third place Akhmed Yakoob has so far netted 62,595 votes, doing particularly well in the Birmingham area.

He has been backed by George Galloway of the Workers Party of Britain and is likely to have taken votes from the Labour candidate.

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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