Labour’s Steve Rotheram has been re-elected for a second term as the major for the Liverpool City region, as he comfortably defeated his rivals in the contest.
Mr Rotheram, a former MP, won 198,726 votes, compared to his closest contender in the race, the Conservative candidate Jade Marsden, who secured 66,702 votes in first preference votes.
His considerable victory, with 58 per cent of the vote share, came on a turnout just shy of 30 per cent in the region he was first elected to represent in 2017.
“It’s a massive vote of confidence in the power of devolution and the work I’ve done so far,” Mr Rotheram said. “Now the government has to back further devolution.”
It comes after Joanne Anderson became the firstly directly elected black female mayor in the UK, as Labour retained the Liverpool mayoralty after the resignation Jo Anderson — no relation — last month.
The former mayor decided not stand again for the role at the end of 2020 following his arrest as part of a Merseyside Police investigation into corruption allegations. Mr Anderson has denied wrongdoing.
After her victory on Friday, Ms Anderson apologised for the previous administration, referring to a report by the local government inspector Max Caller that outlined a culture of bullying, intimidation, “dubious” deals, patchy scrutiny and “jobs for the boys”.
“The first thing I want to do is apologise to the city for what’s happened in terms of the Caller investigation and what’s happened under the previous administration,” she said.
“I’ve stood up because I want to make this right and I will do everything in my power to make it right.”
On Saturday, results are also expected in the Greater Manchester mayoral race, with the incumbent, Andy Burnham, widely expected to win the vote for Labour. In 2017, he won over 63 per cent and turnout is up around five per cent on the last election.
The outcome of the first round of voting is expected around 3pm, although with Mr Burnham running for a second term and nine candidates in all, the election could go to a second round, with second preference votes also then counted to decide the winner.
Both Mr Burnham and Mr Rotheram clashed with Boris Johnson’s administration in the autumn of 2020, as the northern leaders demanded further financial support as the areas were placed under tough Covid restrictions by central government.