East Midlands Mayor: Labour's Claire Ward wins first-ever election

Claire Ward Labour
Claire Ward thanked her supporters after her election [BBC]

Labour's Claire Ward has been elected as the first ever East Midlands mayor.

The new mayoral role is a requirement of a £1.14bn devolution deal for the region and will cover Derby, Nottingham, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.

The result of the election was declared at the Lexus Nottingham Tennis Centre on Friday afternoon.

Turnout for the election was 27.6%, the East Midlands Combined County Authority said.

East Midlands mayor results
Loud cheers from Labour supporters were heard when the results were confirmed [BBC]

Ms Ward received 181,040 votes, with Mr Bradley coming in second with 129,332.

Frank Adlington-Stringer, the candidate for the Green Party, was third with 50,666, while Reform's Alan Graves earned 49,201 votes.

Independent Matt Relf received 23,359 votes, while Liberal Democrat candidate Helen Tamblyn-Saville received 15,970.

In her victory speech Ms Ward has told the crowd Labour is "ready to lead" and thanked residents for backing her campaign.

"I've heard your message loud and clear: you're ready for change," she said.

"You've not only put your trust in me, you've also put your trust in a changed Labour party."

In an emotional speech, Mr Bradley said he was "hugely disappointed" to be defeated after "a hard-fought campaign", but believed the East Midlands would be better off with the devolution deal, which he said is "a huge opportunity".

Mr Adlington-Stringer spoke of his pride at polling in third place, telling the crowd: "History has been made by the Green Party."


Analysis

By George Torr, Radio Derby political reporter

Labour were quietly confident coming in, but some activists looked nervous earlier in the morning. They need not have been.

It was only an hour after counting started after 12:00 when an email pinged in our inbox, with a party source all but claiming victory over second-placed Ben Bradley and the Conservatives.

Claire Ward's team were not counting any chickens earlier in the day, and she gave no interviews until after the result, where she won with 181,040 votes.

A lot has been said of Reform UK, but they were pipped by the Green Party into third, and came fourth in Ashfield - where Lee Anderson is their only MP.

Ms Ward has now got a huge job on her hands, mainly to get the message out there that she is the figurehead for the region, leading the charge for inward investment and improving public transport to name a few.

That job is made somewhat harder - only 27.6% of eligible voters across the two counties actually bothered to vote for a politician with a £1.14bn budget over the next 30 years.


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