Labour wins mayoral contest ‘in Sunak’s backyard’

Labour’s David Skaith has won the York and North Yorkshire mayoral election, securing victory in the Prime Minister’s own backyard.

Thursday was the first time voters in York and North Yorkshire voted for a regional mayor, with Mr Skaith securing about a third of the vote.

The result will be a blow to Rishi Sunak, bringing a defeat in an area previously considered a Conservative stronghold and containing his own constituency of Richmond.

England mayoral elections 2024 after 4 of 11 results declared
(PA Graphics)

A Labour Party spokesman said the result was “truly historic”, adding: “Keir Starmer’s Labour Party is now winning in Rishi Sunak’s backyard.

“The Prime Minister’s own constituents have taken a look at the two parties and chosen Labour.”

Mr Skaith won 66,761 votes, with Conservative Keane Duncan coming second on 51,967 and Liberal Democrat Felicity Cunliffe-Lister coming third on 30,867.

The new Labour mayor is a small business owner and chairman of York High Street Forum, according to his campaign website.

“I think the message is clear from York and North Yorkshire and across the country that we want change,” Mr Skaith said in his victory speech.

“I believe with the Labour Party, and under Keir Starmer, we have the potential for this and I hope this continues, and thank you everyone for your support.”

The mayor’s nearest rival, Conservative candidate Mr Duncan, ran an eye-catching campaign in which he promised to buy and restore the Grand Hotel on Scarborough’s seafront.

The proposal was panned by his political rivals, who claimed it would not be a financially wise move for the York and North Yorkshire Combined Authority.