Labour’s Dan Norris elected West of England mayor
Labour’s Dan Norris has been elected as West of England mayor after gaining the position from the Conservatives.
Mr Norris received the most first and second preference votes, with a total of 125,482.
He beat Conservative candidate Samuel Williams, who received 85,389 votes, by 40,093 votes.
The seat, created in 2017, was previously held by Conservative Tim Bowles, who did not seek a second term.
Mr Norris praised Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer after the results were declared at the SS Great Britain in Bristol on Saturday.
“I’m very proud of our region, it’s a great region but it could be even better,” Mr Norris said.
After thanking voters, he said: “I also want to thank Keir Starmer who has unlocked this election for Labour in the West of England.
“Without him and his skills, his determination and him being who he is, we could not have got this result.
“People were able to listen to our arguments and be persuaded by them because of Keir Starmer. I want to thank him very, very much indeed.”
He later added that his victory was about “being connected to the people that you want to serve”.
“I think Labour has got to do some important changes in the coming months and years but I think this is an encouragement for our party nationally because it shows that we can connect when we get it right,” Mr Norris said.
“I think it will concern the Conservatives very much because I think they take it rather for granted if you don’t mind me saying.
“Covid has made it a tough election and that has restricted Labour’s ability in some ways to campaign in our normal strong way but this shows that we can punch through as well.”
The mayor leads the West of England Combined Authority, which covers Bath and North East Somerset, Bristol and South Gloucestershire.
Mr Norris will make decisions on issues in the region including transport, homes, business, jobs and the economy.
This year, the total number of verified ballot papers was 256,632. The turnout in the election was 36.61%.
Conservative candidate Mr Williams said: “Of course, not the outcome that I was hoping for but a wonderful day and a wonderful day for democracy.
“We saw a fantastic turnout, which is what we want to see, we want to see people engaging with politics and delivering results that will make our region even better.
“As Dan rightly said, it’s time to unlock this region even further.”
Mr Williams praised those involved with the election, as well as his campaign team.
“Covid has created a strange environment and it’s right that we pick up, we move forward and we will look with bated breath to see what can be delivered for the region,” he added.
In the first round of results, Green party candidate Jerome Thomas received 54,919 votes, while Stephen Williams of the Liberal Democrats picked up 41,193.