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The Conservative Party candidate Tim Bowles has become the West of England’s first Metro Mayor, despite losing out to both the Labour and Liberal Democrat candidates on the Bristol ballot.

The West of England’s Combined Authority covers a large part of the South West of the country, including the existing council areas of Bristol, South Gloucestershire and Bath & North East Somerset.

Bowles eventually saw off Labour’s Lesley Mansell at the second stage of voting, which considers voters’ second preference, after neither candidate was able to secure the required 50 per cent majority at stage one.

Stephen Williams of the Liberal Democrats finished third, followed by independent candidate John Savage and the Green Party’s Darren Hall. Aaron Foot of UKIP finished third.

However, Bowles fared relatively poorly in Bristol, where he finished third, losing out to Mansell by over 11,000 stage one votes, although he received more than twice as many votes as any other candidate in the South Gloucestershire region.

Speaking to the BBC, Bowles cited ‘the national message about providing strong leadership as Conservatives’ as part of the reason for his success.

Turnout was disappointingly low across the region, with just 29.7 per cent of the electorate going to the polls, although Bristol West, which includes the heavily-student areas of Clifton and Redland, was one bright spot, with a turnout of over 40 per cent.

Once in office, the Metro-Mayor will earn a salary of £62,000 per year, and will be given £1bn worth of Government investment over the next 30 years as part of plans to devolve more power to local authorities over key regional issues.

The position is a new role, and does not replace the existing of Mayor of Bristol, an office which will continue to be filled by Labour’s Marvin Rees.

What do you think of the Metro Mayoral race? Let us know…

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