Lord Houchen secures third term as Tees Valley Mayor with reduced majority

Lord Houchen was first elected to the role in 2017. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Conservative peer Lord Houchen has secured a third mayoral term in the Tees Valley - but with a reduced majority.

He won a total of 81,930 votes across the Tees Valley, while Labour candidate Chris McEwan - his nearest rival - polled 63,141 votes.

Lord Houchen was first elected to the role in May 2017 in a surprise victory. He was re-elected in 2021 with 72.8% of the vote.

The results of the Tees Valley Mayor election are as follows:

- Lord Houchen, Conservative: 81,930

- Chris McEwan, Labour: 63,141

- Simon Thorley, Liberal Democrat: 7,679

Speaking following the declaration: "When it comes to the election, I just want to say that I am absolutely humbled by everybody that voted for me.

"Teesside is a place where I was born, where I grew up and other than a sabbatical to Newcastle for four years when I came straight back, it's a place where I am going to be for the rest of my life.

"To be reelected for a third term in my home, in my community is absolutely the greatest honour that anyone could ever give me.

"Let's be clear, there's a still a long way to go. I'm not sat here pretending that everything's perfect bur t we are making good progress.

"We need to continue to tackle the problems that we have in our local area. The plan that I've got in place is the right one. As long as I'm mayor, I will continue to work as hard as I can for everybody."

The result comes on a bruising night for the Conservative party in the local elections across the country and across the North East with Labour making gains in areas like Hartlepool where they took over the running of the council.

Ben Houchen speaks to ITV News following his re-election as Tees Valley Mayor

Lord Houchen denied "trying to pretend" he was not a Conservative, after being pictured without a blue rosette. He told reporters he had simply "forgot" and did have his blue tie and blue socks on.

However, Lord Houchen later appeared alongside the prime minister at Teesside Airport, saying: “I could not have delivered the things we’ve delivered in this region without you, prime minister.”

Lord Houchen appeared alongside Rishi Sunak at Teesside Airport following his re-election. Credit: PA Images

Mr Sunak said Houchen’s re-election was evidence of “the Conservatives delivering” and “levelling-up in action”.

The prime minister added that the people of Teesside “knew it was Ben and the Conservatives that delivered for them and they stuck with you at this election. And I know that come the general election, they’re going to stick with us too.”

A Labour spokesman said: “If Rishi Sunak doesn’t take this result as a major wake-up call he is in denial.”

During the election campaign, Lord Houchen told ITV Tyne Tees his policies would be to build a replacement hospital for North Tees Hospital, which he said is “falling down”.

Lord Houchen also said he will provide free swimming for children under 11 and introduce more flights from Teesside Airport - one of his passion projects as mayor - “to places like Malaga and Tenerife.”

A key part of Lord Houchen’s tenure has been the development of Teesworks around Redcar’s former steelworks. 

Following controversy around the regeneration project, a government-commissioned review found no evidence of corruption, but made key recommendations 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.

Following the declaration, John McCabe, chief executive at the North East Chamber of Commerce, said: “Congratulations to Ben Houchen on his re-election as Tees Valley mayor. In his first two terms and throughout this campaign, Mayor Houchen has placed an emphasis on economic development.

"I hope that in his third term, we can work ever more closely with the mayor and his team to ensure the benefits of devolution are felt by all businesses and all communities across the Tees Valley.”

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