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Tories win the race to be the first Tees Valley Mayor

  • Tory Ben Houchen won an improbably victory in the Tees Valley at the elections 
  • His win came in strongly pro-Brexit territory but in a loyally Labour part of Britain
  • Houchen said the victory was the first step on the way to turning the area blue  

By Tim Sculthorpe, Deputy Political Editor For Mailonline

Published: 10:12 EDT, 5 May 2017 | Updated: 11:53 EDT, 5 May 2017

The Conservatives have won an historic victory in the race to be the first West Midlands Mayor.

Former John Lewis boss Andy Street saw off Labour's Sion Simon by just a handful of votes.

Mr Street's victory was the second stunning victory for the Tories in the six elections yesterday to the new Metro Mayor posts.  

Former John Lewis boss Andy Street (pictured as he was declared the winner today)  saw off Labour's Sion Simon by just a handful of votes.
Former John Lewis boss Andy Street (pictured as he was declared the winner today)  saw off Labour's Sion Simon by just a handful of votes.

Former John Lewis boss Andy Street (pictured as he was declared the winner today)  saw off Labour's Sion Simon by just a handful of votes.

Earlier Ben Houchen won the powerful post on the second round of counting, squeezing out Labour's Sue Jeffrey.

The victory comes on strongly pro-Brexit territory in the north east of England but Labour will be horrified to lose on a patch which has traditionally been Labour. 

The area includes Hartlepool - Peter Mandelson's old constituency - and the steel town of Redcar. 

The new mayors will have control over significant budgets and devolved powers over transport, policing and other services.  

None of the seats in the region have voted Tory in decades and gains there on June 8 would herald a monumental landslide for Mrs May.

Mr Houchen said the result was a 'political earthquake' adding: 'We are seeing a massive trend towards the Conservatives.

Conservative Ben Houchen (pictured at the count today) won the powerful post on the second round of counting, squeezing out Labour's Sue Jeffrey
Conservative Ben Houchen (pictured at the count today) won the powerful post on the second round of counting, squeezing out Labour's Sue Jeffrey

Conservative Ben Houchen (pictured at the count today) won the powerful post on the second round of counting, squeezing out Labour's Sue Jeffrey

'We have started to turn the Tees Valley blue.'

He said the party will target five seats in the General Election - improving on the one it held at the last election, James Wharton's Stockton South. 

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid hailed Mr Houchen's win as an 'outstanding victory'. 

The shock result in Tees Valley was one of six in mayoral contests today.

The Tories could secure another surprise victory in the West Midlands later where Tory Andy Street holds a narrow first round lead over Labour's Sion Simon.

Labour won Manchester race with Andy Burnham cantering home on the first ballot.

Earlier, Labour secured its expected wins in Liverpool and Doncaster.

But it fell short in the West of England race, where the Conservatives picked up a win. 

Labour won the Manchester race with Andy Burnham cantering home on the first ballot
Labour won the Manchester race with Andy Burnham cantering home on the first ballot

Labour won the Manchester race with Andy Burnham cantering home on the first ballot

In Liverpool, Labour's Steve Rotheram (pictured after his win today) cruised to an expected victory in the race to be the city region's first metro mayor
In Liverpool, Labour's Steve Rotheram (pictured after his win today) cruised to an expected victory in the race to be the city region's first metro mayor

In Liverpool, Labour's Steve Rotheram (pictured after his win today) cruised to an expected victory in the race to be the city region's first metro mayor

Former Labour MP Steve Rotherham won the race to be Liverpool mayor.

He said: 'This result means we can demonstrate what happens when Labour values are put into practice and this result means we can build a platform for our party in our area to go on to General Election success.

'Our people have sent an early warning shot across the Tory bows.

'Our people have voted for policies that we can all get behind and our people have given me an overwhelming mandate.

'I promise I won't let you down.'

NEW METRO MAYORS ELECTED TO SIX REGIONS UNDER DEVOLUTION DEALS  

Metro mayors have been elected to six regions of England today under devolution deals pioneered by George Osborne as Chancellor. The elections mean Liverpool, Manchester, Tees Valley, the West Midlands, the West of England and Cambridgeshire and Peterborough all have a powerful new figure head. 

  • Liverpool: Labour's Steve Rotherham wins on the first round with 59 per cent 
  • Manchester: Labour's Andy Burnham wins on the first round with 63 per cent 
  • Tees Valley: Tory Ben Houchen wins on the second round with 51.2 per cent
  • West of England: Tory Tim Bowles wins on the second round with 51.6 per cent
  • West Midlands: Still too close to call between Tory Andy Street and Labour's Sion Simon
  • Cambridgeshire and Peterborough: Too close to call   

Metro mayors will chair a combined authority that has agreed to a Devolution Deal

They have powers and responsibilities to make strategic decisions across whole city regions. 

The new mayors have powers in areas such as housing, transport and skills

 

 

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