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The battle for West Midlands mayor is down to the wire after a partial recount of votes was ordered.

Incumbent Tory Andy Street’s hope of securing a third term in office remains on a knife-edge in the face of a stiff challenge by Labour’s Richard Parker.

The outcome of the contest is critical to Rishi Sunak after a hammering in the local elections, which saw the Conservative Party lose more than half of its councillors who stood for re-election across England.

Local elections live

It threatens to ramp back up the pressure on the prime minister, who was hoping for a repeat of the success enjoyed by Conservative Ben Houchen who held on as the mayor of Tees Valley and to dampen rumblings of rebellion among some Tory MPs.

Former Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson in the Electoral Dysfunction podcast said the rebels who want to move against Mr Sunak and change leader “would have a huge amount of fuel” if the party lost “one or other or both of Teeside and West Midlands”.

Mr Street had sought to distance himself from the Conservative brand during his campaign and instead ran on a personal platform.

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Sky News recently revealed Mr Street was sending out election literature with an endorsement from former prime minister Boris Johnson which urged people to “forget about the government”.

Read more:
The winners and losers
Charts tell story of Conservative collapse

Analysis: Labour’s future success is less clear-cut

His campaign website also made no mention of Mr Sunak on its homepage and was coloured in green rather than Conservative blue.

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