Never knowingly under-elected: Former John Lewis boss Andy Street voted in as mayor of West Midlands

Emma Haslett
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Street (left) won with a majority of 4,000 votes (Source: Getty)

The former boss of John Lewis has been elected as the first-ever mayor of the West Midlands, nabbing the area from an expected Labour victory.

Conservative candidate Andy Street, who jacked in his job at the retailer in September to run for election, won 41.92 per cent of the vote - a majority of 4,000.

Street was up against Labour candidate Siôn Simon, the ex-MP for Birmingham, who won 40.75 per cent of the vote, while the Liberal Democrats' Beverley Nielsen won 5.89 per cent of the vote. Ukip's Pete Durnell won just 5.63 per cent.

In 2015, 42 per cent of the region voted Labour, with just 33 per cent voting Conservative.

Street's campaign was notably backed by former CBI chief Digby Jones, who also served as trade minister under Gordon Brown.

Last month he wrote: "Our new mayor must not be a professional party politician but someone from the right sort of business, from our region, someone who allows local authorities to get on with doing what local councils do and not interfering, not getting mired in the party politics of it all."

Street was replaced in his role at John Lewis by Paula Nickolds, a former graduate trainee who started her career at the company in 1994 at its Oxford Street store. She has held senior roles including as a buying and brand director, and as commercial director.

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