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The Conservatives’ candidate to become West Midlands mayor has defended spending up to £1m on the campaign, dwarfing his opponents’ spending power. Andy Street, the former John Lewis boss who quit to run for the role, said targeting voters before spending rules began could be justified because the role was vital to 2.5 million people in Birmingham and the surrounding area.The comments come ahead of a tightly fought race and a string of mayoral contests to be held on Thursday. Many council elections are also happening that day.
“You can’t blame Andy for sticking to the rules but it does beg the question whether the rules are right. I think the rules are wrong. In general elections, the regulated period starts much earlier. No rules at all, a complete free for all, until six weeks before polling day – I don’t think that’s the right way to go about it.”