Labour’s shock victory in the West Midlands mayoral election was a “phenomenal result” which was “beyond our expectations”, Sir Keir Starmer said, as the Conservatives were trounced in the local elections.

Tory candidate Andy Street had hoped to cling on in the West Midlands, but Labour challenger Richard Parker beat him with a majority of just 1,508 votes.

The Conservative loss was part of a double blow branded “disappointing” by the Prime Minister after Labour’s Sadiq Khan secured a historic third term as Mayor of London.

“This phenomenal result was beyond our expectations,” Sir Keir said.

Andy Street
Defeated Conservative Andy Street listens to Labour’s Richard Parker speaking as he is elected as the new Mayor of West Midlands (Jacob King/PA)

“People across the country have had enough of Conservative chaos and decline and voted for change with Labour. Our fantastic new mayor Richard Parker stands ready to deliver a fresh start for the West Midlands.”

But Sir Keir struck a conciliatory tone as he told voters who had turned away from Labour over its stance on Gaza he was determined to win their trust again in the future.

Speaking in Birmingham, the Labour leader said: “I say directly to those who may have voted Labour in the past but felt that on this occasion that they couldn’t that across the West Midlands we are a proud and diverse community.

“I have heard you. I have listened. And I am determined to meet your concerns and to gain your respect and trust again in the future.”

Labour has lost seats in a smattering of councils to independents and George Galloway’s Worker’s Party of Britain over its approach to the conflict in the Middle East.

But the party dominated mayoral elections across England, winning in Liverpool, South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, and in Greater Manchester, where Andy Burnham returned to power.

POLITICS Elections
(PA Graphics)

This was despite a move to a first-past-the-post system of voting in all mayoral elections which critics said would favour the Conservatives.

It was only in the Tees Valley mayoral contest where the Prime Minister could take solace in a Tory victory.

Lord Ben Houchen retained the region for the Tories on Friday, amid denials he had sought to distance himself from the Conservatives during the campaign.

Mr Street’s loss may have an impact on the Prime Minister’s defence against backbench Tory challenges to his authority.

The Prime Minister urged his party to stick with his leadership and his plan for Government.

Mr Sunak said: “It’s been disappointing of course to lose dedicated Conservative councillors and Andy Street in the West Midlands, with his track record of providing great public services and attracting significant investment to the area, but that has redoubled my resolve to continue to make progress on our plan.”

Suella Braverman, the Conservative former home secretary was quick out of the gate to lay the blame for Tory losses at the door of Downing Street.

But she insisted ousting the party leader “won’t work”, adding: “The hole to dig us out of is the PM’s, and it’s time for him to start shovelling.”

She urged Mr Sunak to adopt “strong leadership, not managerialism” on tax, migration, the small boats and law and order.

Outgoing West Midlands mayor Mr Street meanwhile urged the Conservative leader not to stray rightwards and stick to a moderate path in order to win votes in the future.

Asked if he is worried the party is drifting to the right and over-emphasising the threat from Reform UK while “ignoring other voters”, he told Sky News: “I would definitely not advise that drift.

“The psychology here is really very straight forward, isn’t it? This is the youngest, most diverse, one of the most urban places in Britain, and we’ve done, many would say, extremely well over a consistent period.

“The message is clear: winning from that centre ground is what happens.”

Results are in from 106 of the 107 councils in England that held elections on May 2 and they show Labour has won 1,140 seats, an increase of more than 200.

The Liberal Democrats beat the Tories into second place, winning 521 seats, up nearly 100.

The Tories are just behind on 513 seats, down nearly 400.

The change in seats is the difference in the number of councillors compared with the state of the parties just before election day.