Uk News What the Tories can learn from my 'red wall' victory in the West Midlands United Kingdom news
PremierLeague-News.Com - The Tories can continue to make more and more progress in places like the West Midlands
PremierLeague-News.Com - Breaking Sport Transfer News ! I always knew it would take something special to get me to step away from John Lewis, the company I had proudly led for nearly a decade. But the chance to become Mayor of the West Midlands, my home, was that something special.Four years on, and the people of this great region have asked me to carry on as Mayor. It is going to be an extremely challenging term because of the pandemic, but I’m going to give it everything I’ve got.Following my win last weekend I’ve been asked the same question I was asked in 2017 – how have the Conservatives won in such a traditional Labour stronghold? The answer is simple – we are delivering.A guide to today's talking points, straight to your inboxEmail address is invalidThank you for subscribing!Sorry, there was a problem with your subscription.We’ve been delivering on people’s priorities – housing, transport, and skills – we’re respecting people’s values – pride, honesty, and hope – and we’re doing it all in a moderate, less partisan way. Those themes have been critical to my time as Mayor, a role I see as more akin to CEO of the West Midlands. Rather than wasting energy politicking, I’ve spent my time drawing people of all sides together to focus on outcomes. Voters who are fed up of traditional politics have sat up and taken note. This approach has also meant that we’ve been able to focus on some of the socially liberal issues that really matter to people too. The Conservatives lost some affluent areas across the country in this month’s elections, but support in similar boroughs here like Solihull and Sutton Coldfield held firm. I don’t think this is any coincidence given the work we have put into tackling homelessness, with our Housing First project having now housed more than 400 rough sleepers, and our concern for the climate emergency, with plans in place for carbon neutrality no later than 2041.Up until 2010 voters in the West Midlands were unwavering in their support for the Labour Party. From councils to MPs this region was a sea of red – or, if you like, a red wall. They trusted their party to deliver – but the West Midlands stagnated and went backwards. The New Labour ‘boom years’ were anything but, as we ended up with a shortage of housing, a lack of good quality jobs, and a public transport network that was woefully under invested in.
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.Then came the 2017 Mayoral election. People here had seen the Conservatives starting to deliver on what mattered to them, but the region was still very much gripped by Labour. So we used the election to present a clear plan of delivery – from closing the skills gap to increasing transport investment – offering people the chance to feel like they were finally part of something much bigger. By the slimmest of margins – just 4,000 votes – a key brick of the red wall fell.Over the next four years the region won the Commonwealth Games, Coventry City of Culture, HS2, the national 5G testbed competition, and significant BBC investment. We used cash negotiated out of Government to build a record number of homes, clean-up derelict industrial sites, and protect precious greenbelt land. We increased public transport investment sevenfold, getting on with extending metro lines, opening railway stations, and cleaning up our bus fleet. The West Midlands started winning again, and up until the pandemic our region was seeing the fastest economic growth outside of London. All of this led to record employment levels, and paved the way for a near doubling of our number of MPs here in the 2019 election. Eight out of a possible 28 became 14. Read More Andy Street re-elected as West Midlands mayor, giving Conservatives ‘hat trick’ of key election victories Since then the Covid pandemic has knocked us for six, and our economic progress has come under serious pressure. But when faced with the question on 6 May of ‘who would you like to lead this region’s recovery?’, voters still chose the Conservative candidate. I suspect they liked our clear, practical plan, and now they’ve entrusted me to deliver on it.If I don’t, then I’ll be out of a job. That means we’ve got to get those who’ve lost their job back into work, improve people’s skills so they have a shot at better jobs, and improve transport links so disadvantaged communities are no longer cut off.The Conservative Party can continue to make more and more progress in places like the West Midlands, but only if we continue to put political division aside and deliver on people’s priorities. Andy Street is the Conservative Mayor of the West Midlands
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