Find out who will be taking on Andy Street in West Midlands metro mayoral election on 7 May.
Liam Byrne, Labour Party MP for Birmingham Hodge Hill, will take on Conservative Party incumbent, and former managing director at John Lewis, Andy Street in the West Midlands metro mayoral election on 7 May.
Byrne was announced as Labour’s candidate on Thursday following a late selection process due to the general election at the end of 2019.
Mayor Street won the first-ever West Midlands metro mayoral election in May 2017, defeating Sion Simon with 50.4% of the vote.
Byrne won against Pete Lowe and Salma Yaqoob, both of whom are considered to be on the Labour left and had support from Momentum, a grassroots movement supportive of Jeremy Corbyn.
The Mayor of the West Midlands chairs the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) and has powers relating to economic growth, transport, including franchised bus services, housing and skills and jobs.
The Mayor also plays a part in tackling homelessness, youth unemployment, community cohesion and air quality.
Mayor Street has been an outspoken critic of continually-rising business rates, arguing that “property is the way retailers have made money historically and we need a system that is a reflection of the future”, though he doesn’t believe that online transaction taxes are the answer.
He is also Britain’s first openly gay directly-elected metro mayor.
Byrne served as Chief Secretary to the Treasury under Gordon Brown’s Government and is the chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Inclusive Growth and the APPG on Children of Alcoholics.
Beverley Nielsen, executive director of the Institute of Design and Economic Acceleration (IDEA) at Birmingham City University, is the candidate for the Liberal Democrats, having run in the 2017 metro mayoral election also.
While Kathryn Downs, a town councillor and founder of LGBT charity Chase Pride, is running for the Green Party, “motivated by the current state of politics and the lack of focus on the climate crisis”.
The West Midlands metro mayoral election takes place on 7 May 2020.