• Thursday, June 13, 2024

News

Andy Street rules out standing as Tory candidate

Labour’s Richard Parker beat Street by just 1,508 votes.

Andy Street (Photo: LDRS)

By: Pramod Thomas

FORMER Tory mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, has decided against pursuing a candidacy as an MP, dealing a setback to prime minister Rishi Sunak’s efforts to attract notable figures to fill empty seats.

Street’s loss in the mayoral election this month brought to an end seven years in the hotseat. Labour’s Richard Parker beat Street by just 1,508 votes – the equivalent of 0.25 per cent of the vote.

But in the Solihull council district of the mayoral election Street, who grew up in Solihull, won by a large margin.

According to reports, Tories are facing the challenge of filling over 150 seats due to a surge in departing MPs.

Speculation had been rife regarding Street’s potential bid for Parliament, with his spokesperson indicating last weekend that he was contemplating his options.

However, in a statement on X (formerly Twitter) on Monday (27), Street clarified his stance, expressing his longstanding preference for serving as mayor over a parliamentary role.

“I have always said that I never wanted to go into Westminster and that the job as mayor of the West Midlands was the right political role for me. But the truth is since losing that mayoral election earlier this month, I haven’t been able to shake the overwhelming sense of duty to continue to serve in a public role,” he wrote on X.

“I have therefore thought long and hard about whether to try to stand for Parliament at the forthcoming general election and become an MP. Ultimately, however, I have decided against it. Being an MP is a job of great importance, but it has just never been for me.”

Street, a former managing director of John Lewis, vowed to continue advocating for his brand of politics regardless of his decision on July 4.

Street, aligned with the moderate “One Nation” faction of the Tory party, has been critical of Sunak, accusing him of amplifying right-wing rhetoric. His political journey was spurred by encouragement from Theresa May in 2016, following initial overtures from her predecessor, David Cameron.

The relationship between Street and Sunak has occasionally been tense and on the verge of conflict, particularly evident at the annual Tory conference last October.

Street considered resigning due to Sunak’s choice to cancel the northern segment of HS2, despite his vocal opposition to the decision. He met with the prime minister multiple times to advocate against this policy.

Despite opting out of parliamentary candidacy, Street remains open to other leadership opportunities in public service, rejecting assumptions of a return to the business sector.

Throughout his tenure as West Midlands mayor, Street enjoyed greater popularity in opinion polls compared to both Sunak and the broader Conservative Party, a fact underscored by the narrow margin of his electoral loss.

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