This week, CityMetric’s tour of the upcoming mayoral elections takes us to the West Midlands: the annoying name for the multi-centred conurbation that takes in Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Coventry and points in between.
The West Midlands is the most competitive of the major metropolitan regions that will pick their new mayors on 4 May. Indeed, it’s the only one of the big three where we don’t in effect already know the result: right now, according to the polling expert Professor John Curtice, Labour’s Siôn Simon and the Conservatives’ Andy Street are neck and neck.
And so I’ve been to Birmingham to interview them both. Simon tells me about the region’s cultural and engineering heritage; Street talks about his plans to boost the local economy. And, obviously, I make both of them nerd out about trams for a bit.
Before and after those interviews, I’m joined by my colleagues Stephen Bush and Helen Lewis, a Midlands native herself, to talk about the region, the election – and to make some foolhardy predictions for who is likely to win.