Dan becomes Metro Mayor
Dan Norris celebrating with his dog Angel at the ss Great Britain after the results of the Metro Mayor election were announced
LABOUR'S Dan Norris has won the West of England Metro Mayor election.
The former MP beat Conservative Samuel Williams by 125,482 votes to 85,389, a majority of just over 40,000 votes, after second-preference votes were counted.
Green candidate Jerome Thomas was third, with 54,919 votes, while Liberal Democrat Stephen Williams was fourth, with 39,767.
The count went to a second round after no-one received an overall majority in the first round of voting.
However, Mr Norris had a lead of more than 10,500 votes after first preferences were counted, receiving 84,434 votes to Mr Williams' 72,415.
In the second round, where second preference votes from Green and Lib Dem voters were added to the front runners' totals, Mr Norris received another 41,048 votes to Mr Williams' 12,974.
It meant Labour gained the mayoralty from the Tories, who had won by 4,377 votes in 2017.
The Metro Mayor leads the West of England Combined Authority, which is responsible for strategic development of business, skills, housing and transport in the region.
Mr Norris said: “It’s a huge honour to be elected as Metro Mayor, for an amazing part of the world that I am so proud to call home.
"I will show the difference an active Metro Mayor makes for our region.
“This role is about collaboration and I will be a Metro Mayor who listens carefully and works cooperatively.
"I’m determined to hit the ground running, with a Jobs and Skills summit in my first 100 days and my Green Recovery Plan.
“I also know that the pandemic has been tough and, as we build back, invest in jobs and our high streets, we must learn key lessons.
"Together we can create a society where we keep looking out for each other and value what’s truly important.”
After the result was announced, Mr Williams paid tribute to his supporters and volunteers, saying: "Thank you for all your support over the past months. It did not go the way we had hoped but we did an outstanding job."
The overall turnout in the West of England Combined Authority (Weca) area was almost 37% – higher than four years ago, when it was less than 30%, and higher than the metro mayoral contests in Liverpool, Greater Manchester, the West Midlands and Tees Valley.
Mr Norris benefited from the increased turnout in Bristol, where elections for the city council and Bristol Mayor were also taking place on May 6: he received more than 50,000 votes in the city, while Mr Williams' 28,000 in Bristol was behind the Greens.
Mr Norris was 143 votes behind the Conservative candidate in B&NES, where he was the MP for the now-abolished Wansdyke constituency from 1997 until 2010.
In South Gloucestershire Mr Williams was more than 9,000 votes ahead of Mr Norris, where they received 28,693 and 19,168 first-preference votes respectively.
As well as his pledges on jobs and the environment, Mr Norris's manifesto included a requirement for 35% of all new homes to be "genuinely affordable", an increase in spending on housebuilding and the creation of a 'homelessness taskforce'.
He has also pledged to drive through improvements to transport, including investigating mass transit and bus franchising, smart ticketing and tap-in, tap-out payments, improved rail services and walking and cycling options.
Mr Norris started his political career as a Bristol city councillor in the 1980s and also served on Avon County Council in the mid-90s.
As an MP he was appointed an environment minister by Gordon Brown in 2009 but lost his seat in the 2010 General Election, when he the redrawn and renamed North East Somerset constituency was won by Conservative Jacob Rees-Mogg.
By Adam Postans, Local Democracy Reporting Service
Dan Norris 84,434
Samuel Williams 72,415
Jerome Thomas 54,919
Stephen Williams 41,193
Dan Norris 125,482 (41,048 second preferences)
Samuel Williams 85,389 (12,974 second preferences)
Metro Mayor column: Page 25