LIAM Byrne has won the race to become Labour candidate for the West Midlands Mayoral election, beating former Dudley Council leader Pete Lowe.

Mr Byrne was up against current Stourbridge North and Lye councillor Pete Lowe and former Respect Party leader Salma Yaqoob to be named Labour's candidate for the vote following a ballot of Labour members.

Cllr Lowe came second in the contest which closed today (February 7).

The Birmingham Hodge Hill MP will now run against current Mayor and Conservative Andy Street in May's election.

Mr Byrne, who served as Chief Secretary to the Treasury under Gordon Brown, has pledged to build affordable green homes; invest in green technology and tackle knife crime.

Speaking after his win was announced, he said: “This is the first election since Brexit. The first election in a new, uncertain world. We need strong leadership to build a bold new future for our region.

“With the pioneering spirit of our history, we must now become the centre of Britain's Green Industrial Revolution.

"We were once the workshop of the world. Now we must become the workshop of a green planet. Becoming Britain's first zero carbon city region and bringing to our region the green manufacturing jobs of the future, low cost solar energy for our citizens, new forests and clean air."

Pete Lowe, who led Dudley Council from 2014 to 2018, threw his support behind Liam Byrne following his defeat and called for unity in the upcoming election campaign.

Cllr Lowe said: “I’d like to congratulate Liam Byrne on becoming Labour’s candidate for the Mayor of the West Midlands, I am looking forward to working with him in the coming weeks and months to help deliver a Labour win in May right across our region.

“I’m proud of the transformative agenda that our team-led campaign set out for the West Midlands, and the support that thousands of Labour Party members, community activists and supporters put into our campaign.

“We as a Labour Party must deliver a mayoralty for the many, which looks after each and every community in our region

“Now is our time to show that we can rebuild, and we can win back the trust of so many voters in the West Midlands, an electorally vital region for our party. I wish Liam all the best in winning in May, and he’ll have my help and support.

“Whilst my mayoral campaign has finished today, I’m looking forward to working on exciting projects to come in the future. Watch this space.”

Voters will take to the polls on Thursday, May 7.