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Keir Starmer rejects handshake with new mayor Richard Parker | Politics | News

Keir Starmer rejects handshake with new mayor Richard Parker | Politics | News

An awkward moment between Sir Keir Starmer and newly-elected West Midlands mayor Richard Parker has been picked up by eagle-eyed viewers.

The leader of the Labour Party sprung up miraculously in Birmingham to congratulate Mr Parker, who beat the Tories’ Andy Street in a shock election battle.

Mr Street had been hoping for a third term in the role, but was narrowly beaten by Mr Parker who received a total of 225,590 votes in comparison to Mr Street’s 224,082.

The shock turn of events saw Labour supporters gather with their placcards as they faced cameras – but a clip on BBC News unearthed a slightly tense moment between Sir Keir and Mr Parker.

Sir Keir was eager to seal his victory, and addressed crowds, clutching the new mayor’s shoulder: “We started in Blackpool, we had a 26 percent swing – and we’ve ended in the West Midlands with our new mayor, Richard Parker.”

As more cheers erupted, Sir Keir paused with both hands in front of him as the new successor looked towards him with his hand out – begging for a shake.

After the brief pause, Mr Parker quickly retreated shrugging his shoulders and looking ahead. Sir Keir added: “There are plenty in-between of mayoralties of councils, also our Police and Crime Comissioners – and untold story of these elections – a fantastic way to end this batch of elections.”

As he was announced as the new mayor, he quickly thanked Andy Street after his shock win. Mr Parker said: “Thank you also to Andy (Street), you’ve led this region through a number of great challenges and you deserve a great credit for that.

“You deserve credit for building up the combined authority into the powerhouse that it is today, through the economic shocks, and leading this region when it came out of Covid.

“You’ve been out there representing our region, I absolutely believe that whilst our politics are different, Andy, we both have our best interests of the West Midlands at heart.”

Former West Midlands mayor Andy Street said it has been his “honour to serve and to lead this place for the last seven years”.

He said: “I hope I’ve done it with dignity and integrity. And I hope I’ve bequeathed to Richard a combined authority and indeed a role to which young aspiring leaders will want to aspire one day.

“In a sense, I can have done no more than that. It has been a great privilege. But tonight, I just wanted to say thank you, and good night.”

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