LABOUR’S electoral victories continued over the weekend, after the party’s Marvin Rees was elected mayor of Bristol with nearly double the votes of the incumbent mayor.
Jeremy Corbyn rushed to Bristol to celebrate the success of Mr Rees, who was said to be the first person of Afro-Caribbean descent to be directly elected mayor of a major European city.
Bristol — England’s fifth most affluent city — was once the country’s leading slave trade port.
Commenting on his “incredible” victory, Mr Rees said: “Forty years ago today we would probably be sat in a council flat in Lawrence Weston having just left a refuge in Exmouth.
“I was aware I was a brown kid, a mixed-race kid, on a housing estate where there weren’t many brown kids.
“I was aware of people calling me names. I had a sense of vulnerability about the circumstances my mum was facing; that we had very little money.
“We could go to the refrigerator and there wouldn’t be much there.
“I think it is incredible that when I reflect back, coming from that background, that while it presented me with many, many challenges and while Bristol has not always been a great place for me to live in, no city is perfect.
“While it has presented me with those challenges it has also presented me with opportunities to stand here today as mayor-elect.”
The father of three took his seat from Bristol First leader George Ferguson, with 68,750 votes to 39,557.
Speaking from Bristol on Saturday afternoon, Mr Corbyn — beaming with Mr Rees — said: “I have been in Bristol quite a few times over the months supporting Marvin because he has this fantastic reach, a fantastic personality — this ability to unite the whole city, to unite people to face the problems we all have.
“This incredible result that has been achieved here today is a huge thank you to everyone in the Labour Party in Bristol and all over the region.
“We’ve had a huge result in Bristol, a huge result in London and we’ve had an increase in our vote since 2015 and I think we have shown we have an enormous reach across all sections of our community.”