Analysis: Osborne vindicated, Doncaster result may head off Don Valley bid

Former chancellor George Osborne
Former chancellor George Osborne
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THERE WAS more than a hint of mischief in George Osborne’s Twitter post pointedly congratulating Conservative Andy Street but also Labour’s Andy Burnham for the wins in the metro-mayor elections.

As he championed the idea of metro-mayors Mr Osborne had faced persistent grumbling from Conservative MPs that he was creating posts which would extend Labour’s political grip on the urban Midlands and North.

Mr Osborne had the last laugh as voters not only elected Mr Street, but also delivered a massive shock in Tees Valley as Conservative Ben Houchen beat Labour rival Sue Jeffrey.

Surely, the former chancellor would argue, a few victories for Labour was a price worth paying for giving the Conservatives more than a toe-hold in urban areas where they have struggled for decades.

“What we have seen here today is what I would call the rebirth of a new urban Conservative agenda,” Mr Street said.

Labour had to look hard for anything remotely positive but Yorkshire offered some crumbs of comfort.

The Conservatives losing a seat on Doncaster Council might be enough to persuade the party against an audacious attempt to unseat Labour’s Caroline Flint from her Don Valley seat.

And Ros Jones’s re-election as Doncaster mayor suggests Labour candidates with strong locally-focused campaigns can still buck the national trend.