Labour’s candidate for the West Midlands mayoral contest has been announced as Liam Byrne, the MP for Birmingham Hodge Hill.
He was endorsed by the party ahead of other potential candidates Salma Yaqoob and Pete Lowe.
The office is currently held by Conservative Andy Street, who was elected as the region’s first mayor in 2017.
He will stand for re-election on 7 May against Mr Byrne.
The Liberal Democrats have put forward Beverley Nielsen as their candidate and Kathryn Downs will stand for the Green Party.
The successful candidate will head up the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) which includes seven local authorities: Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Coventry, Dudley, Solihull, Sandwell and Walsall.
‘There is no money’
Mr Byrne, 49, has represented the Hodge Hill constituency since 2004. In 2010, departing from his office as Chief Secretary to the Treasury, he left a note for his Liberal Democrat successor, David Laws, reading: “I’m afraid there is no money. Kind regards – and good luck! Liam”.
He said his main aims, if he is elected as mayor, include tackling homelessness and knife crime in the region as well as making the West Midlands “the world centre of green manufacturing jobs”.
Last year, he called for tougher action to stop people dying on the streets through the adoption of “Kane’s Law” – named after Kane Walker who died near Birmingham’s Bullring in January 2019.
Kathryn Stanczyszyn, Political reporter, BBC WM
With just three months to go until the mayoral election, this is a late announcement by anyone’s standards.
Originally, Labour had planned to have its West Midlands candidate sorted by the end of November – but a general election got in the way.
There have also been rumours of more than the usual infighting within the region about possible candidates.
Pete Lowe, who has spent nearly 15 years as a councillor in Dudley, received the backing of union Unison and Salma Yaqoob, the former leader of the Respect Party, hoped for a political comeback with endorsement from internal group Momentum.
It’s likely that this split the left-leaning vote amongst the membership.
But there was also early support for Liam Byrne from different Labour factions – including outgoing shadow chancellor John McDonnell and former prime minister Gordon Brown.
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