This week, I’m turning my attention to the forthcoming mayoral election in the North of Tyne combined area, due to take place in May. The area, which was created by a 2018 devolution agreement, spans three local authorities: Newcastle Upon Tyne, North Tyneside and Northumberland, with an elected mayor taking responsibility for areas covering development, education and transport.
There are four candidates: Labour’s Jamie Driscoll, Tory Charlie Hoult, Liberal Democrat John Appleby and independent John McCabe. The fight is considered to be a two-way contest between Driscoll, who made headlines when he defeated the current leader of Newcastle City Council to be selected as Labour’s candidate, and businessman Hoult. At the moment Ladbrokes has Driscoll as favourite at 1/3 (75%) and Hoult in second place at 9/4 (30.7%), with McCabe at 16/1 (5.8%) and Appleby at 50/1 (1.9%).
The Tories will be hoping that Driscoll’s low profile enables them to pull off an upset, but this is unlikely. The big problem for them is that, while Northumberland is currently controlled by a minority Conservative administration, the
other two councils are solid Labour territory, Indeed, Conservatives don’t have even a single councillor in Newcastle and control only six of the 60 seats on North Tyneside. I’d therefore take the 1/3 on Driscoll being elected mayor.