2021 West of England election
← 2017 6 May 2021 2024 →
Turnout36.6%
 
Dan Norris (cropped).jpg
Samuel Williams - Headshot - Original
Candidate Dan Norris Samuel Williams
Party Labour Conservative
First round vote 84,434 72,415
Percentage 33.4% 28.6%
Second round vote 125,482 85,389
Percentage 59.5% 40.5%

 
Jerome2021 (cropped).jpg
SWilliams Headshot (cropped).JPG
Candidate Jerome Thomas Stephen Williams
Party Green Liberal Democrats
First round vote 54,919 41,193
Percentage 21.7% 16.3%
Second round vote Eliminated Eliminated
Percentage Eliminated Eliminated

2021 West of England mayoral election, first and second rounds.svg
Map of the first and second round results by council

Mayor before election

Tim Bowles
Conservative

Elected mayor

Dan Norris
Labour

The 2021 West of England mayoral election was held on 6 May 2021 to elect the mayor of the West of England, on the same day as other local elections across the country. It was the second election for the role. The mayor was elected by the supplementary vote system.

The election was won by Dan Norris of the Labour Party.

Background

The districts of the West of England Combined Authority
The districts of the West of England Combined Authority

The West of England term has been used as a synonym for either south-west England or the former county of Avon which was abolished in 1996. The West of England Combined Authority (WECA) was created in 2017 as a statutory body which covers the areas of Bristol, South Gloucestershire, and Bath and North East Somerset.[1][2] It broadly resembles Avon, but excludes North Somerset because the council opposed joining the combined authority, although they collaborate on some projects.[3][4] In October 2020 there were discussions around North Somerset joining the WECA in time for the May 2021 election,[5][6] but councillors in Bristol voted down this proposal in early 2021.[7]

The mayor of the West of England is the directly elected head of the WECA. They have powers over a £30 million annual budget from the government, to fund transport management, strategic planning of land and housing and the adult education budget.[8][4] The first election took place in 2017, with Conservative candidate Tim Bowles winning with 52% in the second round, and Labour placed second; the turnout was 29.7%, which was considered low.[2]

The think-tank Centre for Cities looked at the results of local elections in the West of England for 2018 and 2019 to make a prediction of the result and found the Conservatives had suffered considerable losses in Bath and North East Somerset, saying it "looks set to be tough for the incumbent".[9]

The COVID-19 pandemic led to other elections due to take place in May 2020 being delayed to occur on the same day as this election, including elections for many other metro mayors across England.[10][11][12] This meant that the mayor was elected the same time as the mayor of Bristol, Bristol City Council and the police and crime commissioner for Avon and Somerset Constabulary.[13]

Voting system

The election used a supplementary vote system, in which voters express a first and a second preference for candidates.[14]

This means that the winning candidate has the support of a majority of voters who expressed a preference among the top two.[15]

All registered electors (British, Irish, Commonwealth and European Union citizens) living in the West of England aged 18 or over on 6 May 2020 will be entitled to vote in the mayoral election. Those who are temporarily away from home (for example, away working, on holiday, in student accommodation or in hospital) will also be entitled to vote. The deadline to register to vote in the election was 11:59pm, 19 April 2021.[16]

Campaign

The Conservative prime minister Boris Johnson was unable to name Tim Bowles, the incumbent Conservative mayor of the West of England, whilst campaigning in Gloucestershire.[17] Keir Starmer, the leader of the Labour Party, visited Bath to campaign for Dan Norris, the Labour candidate. He was kicked out of a pub by its landlord, who opposed lockdowns.[18] An opinion poll showed that 10% of residents of the West of England thought that Marvin Rees, the Labour mayor of Bristol, was the mayor of the West of England, while only 7% could correctly identify Bowles as the region's mayor.[19] The BBC broadcast a debate between the four candidates on 25 April.[19]

Samuel Williams, the Conservative candidate, said that he would start a "collaborative growth forum" as a place for representatives of different industrial sectors to meet and discuss how the combined authority can support them.[20] He said he would "prioritise the regeneration of brownfield sites".[21]

Dan Norris, the Labour candidate, said that Bowles was the "only metro mayor who doesn't have more powers than when he started". If elected, Norris said he would seek more powers and finance from central government.[20] He said he would establish a "Green Recovery Fund" to create 23,000 jobs by investing in "home retrofitting, tree-planting, flood and drought defences, and renewable energy".[21] In the BBC debate, he said he supported more building on brownfield sites.[19]

Stephen Williams, the Liberal Democrat candidate, said he would prioritise bus franchising and opening new railway stations.[20] He said he would cancel plans for a ring road around South Bristol.[22] He proposed the establishment of a "West of England Centre for Green Technology Excellence" to promote workforce skills for the "green jobs of the future".[21]

Jerome Thomas, the Green Party candidate, said his first priority would be opposing a proposed expansion of Bristol Airport.[20] He said he would lobby the national government to institute a wealth tax and provide VAT reductions for energy-efficient products.[21] In the BBC debate, he said he'd start community land associations to help people build homes for themselves, and reduce the number of cars on roads.[19]

Candidates

Conservative Party

Samuel Williams was announced as the Conservative Party candidate on 20 December 2020. He had previously run as the party's candidate to be Mayor of Bristol.[23] The incumbent mayor, Tim Bowles, was elected as a Conservative but decided not to run for re-election.[24]

Labour Party

Dan Norris was selected as the Labour Party candidate on 16 November 2020. He served as MP for Wansdyke from 1997 to 2010, when it was replaced with North East Somerset. He was environment minister from 2009 to 2010.[25] Seven candidates were longlisted, including the party's candidate in the 2017 mayoral election Lesley Mansell. Of those seven candidates, Norris and Bristol councillor Helen Godwin were shortlisted at interview to proceed to a selection by members' vote.[26][27] Norris won selection with 1,611 votes to Godwin's 1,558 with a turnout of 41.9%.[28]

Liberal Democrats

Stephen Williams, a former MP and minister, was announced as the Liberal Democrat candidate on 24 July 2020.[3][29] He served as MP for Bristol West from 2005 to 2015 and communities minister from 2013 to 2015.[25] He was the party's candidate in the 2017 mayoral election, when he came third with 20.2% of the vote.[30]

Green Party

Jerome Thomas was announced as the Green Party candidate in January 2021. He was an entrepreneur who established and ran a business before he became a councillor.[25][31] He served as a Bristol councillor from 2015 to 2021 and was deputy leader of the Green Party group on the council.[32]

Results

The election was won by Dan Norris, the Labour Party candidate, with 59.5% of the vote in the second round.[33]

Overall

First round results of the mayoral election
First round results of the mayoral election
Second round results of the mayoral election
Second round results of the mayoral election
West of England Mayoral Election 6 May 2021 [34][35]
Party Candidate 1st round 2nd round
 First round votes  Transfer votes 
Total Of round Transfers Total Of round
Labour Dan Norris 84,434 33.4% 41,048 125,482 59.5%
Conservative Samuel Williams 72,415 28.6% 12,974 85,389 40.5%
Green Jerome Thomas 54,919 21.7%
Liberal Democrats Stephen Williams 41,193 16.3%
Turnout 252,961 36.6%

By local authority

Bath and North East Somerset

West of England Mayoral Election 6 May 2021 (Bath and North East Somerset) [35][36]
Party Candidate 1st round 2nd round
 First round votes  Transfer votes 
Total Of round Transfers Total Of round
Labour Dan Norris 15,135 31.9% 6,598 21,733 55.6%
Conservative Samuel Williams 15,278 32.2% 2,052 17,330 44.4%
Liberal Democrats Stephen Williams 9,451 19.9%
Green Jerome Thomas 7,603 16.0%
Turnout 47,467 34.4%

Bristol

West of England Mayoral Election 6 May 2021 (Bristol) [35][36]
Party Candidate 1st round 2nd round
 First round votes  Transfer votes 
Total Of round Transfers Total Of round
Labour Dan Norris 50,131 36.6% 27,933 78,064 68.6%
Green Jerome Thomas 38,510 28.1%
Conservative Samuel Williams 28,444 20.7% 7,206 35,650 31.4%
Liberal Democrats Stephen Williams 20,053 14.6%
Turnout 137,138 40.8%

South Gloucestershire

West of England Mayoral Election 6 May 2021 (South Gloucestershire) [35][36]
Party Candidate 1st round 2nd round
 First round votes  Transfer votes 
Total Of round Transfers Total Of round
Conservative Samuel Williams 28,693 42.0% 3,716 32,409 55.8%
Labour Dan Norris 19,168 28.0% 6,517 25,685 44.2%
Liberal Democrats Stephen Williams 11,689 17.1%
Green Jerome Thomas 8,806 12.9%
Turnout 68,356 31.5%

References

  1. ^ Pipe, Ellie (23 July 2020). "Metro mayor on the future of transport in the Bristol region". Bristol 24/7. Retrieved 11 August 2020.
  2. ^ a b "Meet the mayors: Who are the new leaders?". BBC News. 5 May 2017. Retrieved 11 August 2020.
  3. ^ a b Grubb, Sophie (24 July 2020). "West of England Mayor election 2021: Lib Dems announce candidate". BristolLive. Retrieved 11 August 2020.
  4. ^ a b Ashcroft, Esme (4 May 2018). "Weca Metro Mayor marks first anniversary - but what has he done?". Bristol Post. Reach plc. Retrieved 12 August 2020.
  5. ^ "North Somerset Council joining Weca 'could secure vital funds'". BBC News. 28 October 2020. Retrieved 31 October 2020.
  6. ^ Sumner, Stephen (27 October 2020). "Not joining regional partnership would be "stupid"". BristolLive. Reach plc. Retrieved 31 October 2020.
  7. ^ Postans, Adam (3 February 2021). "Minister offers path for North Somerset to join Weca". Bristol Post. Reach plc. Retrieved 13 February 2021.
  8. ^ "Combine Authority Factsheet West of England". Centre for Cities. Retrieved 11 August 2020.
  9. ^ Jeffrey, Simon; Bell, Owen (11 August 2020). "What do the local elections tell us about the upcoming metro mayor elections?". Centre for Cities. Retrieved 13 August 2019.
  10. ^ "Local elections postponed for a year over coronavirus". BBC News. 13 March 2020. Retrieved 13 March 2020.
  11. ^ Elledge, Jonn. "What is happening with England's mayoral elections?". City Metric. Archived from the original on 8 August 2020. Retrieved 11 August 2020.
  12. ^ Roberts, Jane (11 August 2020). "Assessing England's metro-mayors: a mixed picture". Democratic Audit. Retrieved 11 August 2020.
  13. ^ Wilson, Kate (7 May 2020). "Bristol's next mayor will serve three-year term after 2020 elections postponed". Bristol Post. Reach plc. Retrieved 12 August 2020.
  14. ^ "Tory elected West of England mayor". BBC News. 5 May 2017. Retrieved 12 August 2020.
  15. ^ Elledge, Jonnk (2 May 2012). "London Elections: How The Voting System Works". The Londonist. Retrieved 12 August 2020.
  16. ^ "What is the Supplementary Vote?". Nudge Factory. Retrieved 12 August 2020.
  17. ^ PA, Emma Bowden (19 April 2021). "Boris Johnson can't name WECA mayor despite both being Conservative". BristolLive. Retrieved 25 April 2021.
  18. ^ "Sir Keir Starmer kicked out of pub and Boris Johnson appears to forget name of Tory incumbent on difficult day of campaigning". Sky News. Retrieved 25 April 2021.
  19. ^ a b c d "West of England mayor candidates aim to raise role's profile". BBC News. 26 April 2021. Retrieved 28 April 2021.
  20. ^ a b c d "West of England metro mayor election: Meet the candidates". ITV News. 20 April 2021. Retrieved 25 April 2021.
  21. ^ a b c d "A green jobs revolution must go beyond construction and manufacturing". The Bristol Cable. 20 April 2021. Retrieved 25 April 2021.
  22. ^ Cork, Tristan (19 April 2021). "South Bristol 'Wrong Road' plan becomes issue for two mayoral elections". BristolLive. Retrieved 25 April 2021.
  23. ^ Mabe, Huw (20 December 2020). "Conservative candidate for West of England mayor announced". South Cotswolds Gazette. Retrieved 23 December 2020.
  24. ^ "West of England Mayor Tim Bowles announces retirement". BBC News. 24 November 2020. Retrieved 25 November 2020.
  25. ^ a b c Postans, Adam (13 April 2021). "West of England metro mayor election: everything you need to know". BristolLive. Retrieved 17 April 2021.
  26. ^ Chappell, Elliot (20 July 2020). "Letter sent to NEC as just two make Labour's West of England mayor shortlist". LabourList. Retrieved 12 August 2020.
  27. ^ Chappell, Elliot (4 August 2020). "Party refuses to restart selection process for West of England mayoral candidate". LabourList. Retrieved 12 August 2020.
  28. ^ Rodgers, Sienna (16 November 2020). "Dan Norris selected as Labour's West of England mayoral candidate". LabourList. Retrieved 17 November 2020.
  29. ^ "Lib Dems announce candidate for 2021 West of England mayoral election". Bath Echo. 28 July 2020. Retrieved 17 April 2021.
  30. ^ Ashcroft, Esme (7 April 2017). "What have the Metro Mayor candidates promised so far?". BristolLive. Retrieved 22 October 2020.
  31. ^ "West of England mayoral candidates". BBC News. 29 March 2021. Retrieved 17 April 2021.
  32. ^ Postans, Adam (12 January 2021). "Greens choose Bristol city councillor as metro mayor candidate". Bristol Post. Retrieved 12 January 2021.
  33. ^ Cork, Tristan (8 May 2021). "Labour win West of England Metro Mayor from Conservatives". BristolLive. Retrieved 8 May 2021.
  34. ^ "Elections 2021: Results from the West of England". BBC News. Retrieved 8 May 2021.
  35. ^ a b c d Pearce, Oliver. "Election results (stage one)". West of England Combined Authority. Retrieved 8 May 2021.
  36. ^ a b c Pearce, Oliver. "Mayoral election result 2021". West of England Combined Authority. Retrieved 21 May 2021.