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Reaction to Marvin Rees’ re-election

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Marvin Rees has won the race to become Bristol’s next mayor.

The Labour candidate beat his nearest rival, the Green Party’s Sandy-Hore Ruthven, by 13,613 votes.

It means Mr Rees will have three more years at the helm of Bristol City Council, after which he says he will not seek re-election.

Speaking after the declaration at City Academy in Redfield on Sunday (May 9), Mr Rees said his re-election was “a moment of great joy” and an “affirmation” of what Labour has achieved.

“There’s something that’s very, quite special about being re-elected because it confirms so much of the work we’ve been trying to do and the way we’ve been trying to do it in the city,” he said.

“So we’ll continue with our focus on tackling poverty and inequality, decarbonising the economy, the ecological crisis, all the things we’ve been trying to do, build homes for people.

“I really want us to continue on that journey.”

Mr Rees has already led Bristol for five years, one more than is usual because local elections were cancelled last year by the coronavirus pandemic.

He was first elected city mayor in May 2016, when he beat incumbent George Ferguson by almost 30,000 votes.

That majority narrowed this year, after Mr Hore-Ruthven went head-to-head with the Labour incumbent on key pledges to tackle housing, transport, the climate and poverty in a tightly fought race.

But Mr Rees’ vision for an underground, protecting jobs, investing in social care and clean energy, planting more trees and building more homes ultimately resonated with voters.

He won 59,276 votes, against Mr Hore-Ruthven’s 45,663.

Mr Hore-Ruthven said he was “pleased but also disappointed” at how he did in the mayoral election.

“We’ve quadrupled our vote and that’s a huge achievement. People have seen the Green Party as a party that could govern the city,” he said.

Voter turnout was slightly lower this year, at just over 41 per cent compared with just under 45 per cent in 2016.

The mayoral election was conducted under a supplementary voting system, which meant each voter could choose a first and second preference at the ballot box.

All the candidates other than Mr Rees and Mr Hore-Ruthven were knocked out in the first round, and their second preference votes were added to the two frontrunners’ totals.

The results of the first round of voting, where first preference votes only were counted, was as follows:

Rees (LAB) 50,510

Hore-Ruthven (GRN) 36,331

Watson (CON) 25,816

Gooch (LD) 15,517

Connelly (Independent) 4,956

Baldwin (TUSC) 3,194

Langley (Independent) 1,528

Clarke (Reform UK) 806

Shaw (Independent) 389.

At that point, Mr Rees had 36.3 per cent of the votes and runner-up Mr Hore-Ruthven had 26.1 per cent.

At the same point in 2016, Mr Rees had a 40.4 per cent share against George Ferguson’s 23.1 per cent.

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