Local Elections 2024: Claire Ward: Who is the most powerful woman in the East Midlands?

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Pictured is Claire Ward, who has won the East Midlands mayoral election with a significant majority. Credit: ITV Central

This is a day for firsts for the East Midlands.

The first Mayor was elected and the first set of candidates have been left disappointed.

Labour's Claire Ward will be very happy her name will now be in the history books as the first to hold the new role. One that will control a multi-billion pound budget for things like transport, housing and skills.

She will be the most powerful woman in the East Midlands.

The ex-MP who served in Parliament under Tony Blair was an local NHS board boss but today she became the most powerful woman in the East Midlands.

She also served as a Government Whip from 2005 to 2009 and a Justice Minister from 2009 to 2010.

Ms Ward lives in north Nottinghamshire and she is a qualified solicitor and a Non Executive Director and chair of Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Ben Bradley, her Conservative opposing candidate, will be devastated to have lost having spent years pushing the Government to set up the role.

He appeared at the count at the Nottingham Tennis Centre today and was seen shrugging his shoulders early on - a sign this result won’t come as a major surprise.

Despite all the fanfare - only 27.6% of people turned out to vote in this election - showing Claire Ward has a job on her hands even just to tell the public of the east Midlands what her job is.

But on Tuesday next week, the new East Midlands Combined County Authority gets to work, serving more than 2.2 million people across Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, with Labour at the helm.

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