Hear from the candidates for Tees Valley Mayor

  • ITV Tyne Tees Political Correspondent Tom Sheldrick looks ahead to the Tees Valley mayoral election on 2 May.

There are three candidates standing in the third election for Tees Valley Mayor, on Thursday 2 May.

The winner will lead the combined authority, which brings together Darlington, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Redcar & Cleveland and Stockton.

They will have control of significant funding and powers over things like transport, regeneration and skills.

We have spoken to the candidates to hear their pledges.

Conservative candidate Ben Houchen. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Conservative Ben Houchen has been the mayor since 2017, and is hoping for a third term.

He was made a member of the House of Lords last year.

He says North Tees Hospital is "falling down" and he plans to build a replacement, as well as providing free swimming for children under 11, and introducing more flights from Teesside Airport "to places like Malaga and Tenerife."

There has been controversy around the Teesworks regeneration project he has overseen around Redcar's former steelworks.

A government-commissioned review found no evidence of corruption, but made serious criticisms over governance and transparency.

Lord Houchen told us: "I think my record is absolutely fantastic", with more than 2,000 jobs created at the Teesworks site.

Labour candidate Chris McEwan. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Labour candidate Cllr Chris McEwan is the deputy leader of Darlington Borough Council, and a former NHS manager.

He said his priorities were growing the economy, "turbo-charging the skills system", creating "an integrated transport system", and providing free parking in town centres.

Cllr McEwan told us he would be able to put the Tees Valley on the map, due to his "regional connections and national connections."

Liberal Democrat candidate Simon Thorley. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

The Liberal Democrat candidate is Simon Thorley, who runs a language training business.He is pledging to introduce a £25m annual "early years support fund" to help those in poverty and at risk of poverty, as well as making local bus services "more reliable and accessible."Mr Thorley claimed his "concrete, coherent policies" distinguish him from the other candidates.The election takes place on Thursday 2 May, with the result expected the following day.

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