Andy Street not blaming anyone else for mayoral loss

Andy Street
Andy Street, who held the role of West Midlands mayor for seven years, lost by just 1,508 votes [BBC]

Andy Street has said he is not putting the blame elsewhere for losing the West Midlands mayoral election.

The Tory incumbent, who had held the role for seven years, lost by just 1,508 votes to Labour's Richard Parker on Sunday.

The Conservatives lost more than 450 council seats in England this week. When asked if he believed the blame for him losing the mayoral election lay with the Conservative party, Mr Street told the BBC: "I can't have it both ways".

He added: "We ran this election very much as my campaign. So ultimately what one has to say is I didn't persuade enough people to have confidence in our plans for the future."

Andy Street as Richard Parker makes his victory speech
"To get within 1,500 votes of the Labour an incredible achievement by my team," Mr Street said [PA Media]

The former mayor said he was "gutted" to have lost the election and that he was now going to take time to reflect.

"I'm the type of person who's given everything to this job, I think everyone would acknowledge that," he said.

"Now it's no longer, there it's an obvious time in life to pause, reflect, decide."

He added: "I love the job but also I genuinely thought that the mayoralty [and] the combined authority were doing good things for the region and the region was coming stronger through it.

"It was my privilege to lead this region, an honour, you might say. I do feel gutted that that is not to continue."

When asked if he could perceive the electoral results as a "very near victory", Mr Street replied: "I feel very, very proud of what we've done over the last seven years...but also I feel incredibly proud of the Conservative team across the West Midlands.

"To get within 1,500 votes of the Labour Party when Labour is ascendant across the national polls in an area that many would say is their backyard, I think is an incredible achievement by my team so I do feel very, very proud of them."

When asked if the campaign had relied too much on "Brand Andy", Craig Tracey, the Conservative MP for North Warwickshire, told BBC Politics Midlands he had not got that impression.

Mr Tracey said: "I don't think there was any complacency at any point and we put in a big shift for him, from the parliamentary party but also the voluntary party and councillors.

"If you look at Andy Burnham's win in Manchester, he said it's about places not politics, so I think for a mayoral election, you can go on that one person."

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