Polling stations across the region will open in May 2017 to elect the first West Midlands Metro Mayor. The Mayor will represent Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall and Wolverhampton.

Andy Street, the MD of John Lewis, has this evening (29/09) been elected as the Conservative Party candidate for the West Midlands Metro Mayor.

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Mr Street, said: “As a proud Brummie, having been brought up here, I have recently seen the beginning of the renaissance of the West Midlands. But it needs to go much further and touch the daily lives of many more residents

“Over the past five years, I have led the Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership. I’ve witnessed how our region is beginning a transformation not seen for half a century.

“The new role of Mayor offers a once-in-a-generation opportunity to accelerate this transformation and truly realise our potential.

“Our Mayor needs to be a strong voice for the West Midlands, accomplished at putting our case to government and being an ambassador around the world, whilst at the same time addressing issues that matter locally: jobs, housing, transport and skills, from Coventry to Wolverhampton.

“I believe I have the necessary experience and skills to make a success of this new role for the benefit of all.

“For nearly a decade, I have been at the helm of one of Britain’s leading businesses – John Lewis, a company renowned for sharing its success with its partners. Similarly, the progress of the Local Enterprise Partnership has been built on teamwork spanning industries, political parties and the different towns and cities of the area.

“This is exactly what is needed from the new Mayor.

“We must not squander this opportunity. The region faces a stark choice: do we embrace this renaissance by growing the economy in a way which benefits everybody and thus become Britain’s Powerhouse? Or, do we look backwards? There is only one answer. If I’m the candidate, I will work tirelessly to make this happen.”

The Labour Party have elected former Birmingham MP and current West Midlands MEP Sion Simon, and the Liberal Democrats Party have elected Birmingham City University’s director of corporate affairs, Beverley Nielsen as their candidates in the race.

Other parties will announce their candidates in due course.

(Image: Ross Jukes)