Former mayor wants moderate approach from Tories

Andy Street
Andy Street admitted it was "hard" to move on from his role as West Midlands Mayor [PA Media]

Former West Midlands Mayor Andy Street has urged his party to stick to the middle ground of politics, if it is to win the general election or bounce back quickly from defeat.

Mr Street served two terms as mayor from 2017 until this May, when he was beaten by 1,508 votes by Labour's Richard Parker.

Speaking for the first time since his defeat, he told BBC Midlands Today that "ultimately, it was the Conservative brand that held us back".

The former John Lewis boss called for a moderate approach from the party, adding "a lurch to the right would be really the wrong reaction to our current situation".

Discussing the result of the mayoral election, Mr Street said: "It was a long, painful day. I did not expect that outcome when I got up that morning but it obviously was what it was.

"People do say move on but I will admit that is hard."

On his own future, the former John Lewis boss admitted that while he hoped the Conservatives would win the general election, his decision not to stand as a candidate had been influenced by the prospect of five years in opposition.

He said: "I would not naturally be a very good opposition backbench MP."

He added that whilst being an MP is an important role, he had spent 20 years in executive jobs and the different demands of being a member of parliament were not for him.

Pressed on what he would do next, Mr Street ruled out a return to business but said he did hope to return to an executive-style role in public life.

"I have the public service bug and I hope to continue in that, but exactly how I haven’t got a clue."

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