Andy Street out as mayor of West Midlands as Labour's Richard Parker snatches wafer-thin victory

Labour's Richard Parker has pulled off a dramatic upset by ousting Andy Street as mayor of the West Midlands by just 1,508 votes. The likeable former accountant, 60, had the might of the Labour front bench behind him, and victory is a major coup for his party.

It's a damning, upsetting defeat for Street, who had hoped his personal brand would be enough to overcome the drag of the Conservative party. The victory in the eagerly anticipated contest was thought to have been 'too close to call' for days and multiple recounts were needed ahead of the result, delaying the tense contest's denouement by more than five hours.

'Brand Andy' lost out in the end to a determined campaign by the Labour Party, whose candidate Parker had been unknown when he was announced as the candidate last year. But Labour faced their own battles as the party's stance on Gaza erupted into the open.

READ MORE: West Midlands Mayor results live from Birmingham

For Street, despite his campaigning nous and personal support, it was a difficult finale after a gruelling effort. He attended every hustings, every panel event, spoke to journalists galore and toured the region. It's the end of a seven year mayoralty that has won wideranging accolades for his determination to bring together people of all backgrounds 'for the good of the region.'

The surprise package of the campaign to anyone outside the region was the massive support shown to Independent Akhmed Yakoob. He massively dented the inner city Labour vote, particularly in Birmingham, and secured a strong pro-Palestine protest vote in Muslim-majority heartlands of the city, including Alum Rock and Small Heath.

In Birmingham he gained a total of 42,923 votes, while he also secured thousands in parts of the region he had barely set foot in. He described his disruptive influence as 'a political earthquake'.

But in the end he did not take enough of the Labour vote to stop Parker taking it, just. The gap between Street and Parker was just 1,508.

Jess Phillips, Yardley MP speaking before the result, said of sunglasses wearing Tik Tok embracing lawyer Akhmed Yakoob that he was a 'charlatan' who has done nothing positive for the people of Gaza. But she said the Labour party leadership would now need to 'debrief' and learn lessons from the campaign ahead of the General Election.

"The truth is that tens of thousands of people have been angered and upset by what is happening in Gaza and the party now needs to address that, urgently."