Sharon Hodgson

Disclaimer: As an election has been called, there are currently no MPs.

ECHO COLUMN: Mayoral, PCC and local elections - 2 May, 2024

ECHO COLUMN: Local elections 2024 - voting for the first North East Mayor and an opportunity for change.


In the midst of a Conservative-inflicted cost-of-living crisis, housing stock shortage and the North East experiencing the worst child poverty levels in the country, voters will be going to the polls on the 2nd of May.

In Sunderland, as well as voting for local councillors and a new Police and Crime Commissioner, this will be the first election of the new North East Mayor, a role introduced as part of a new devolution deal agreed in January 2023.  As it was a Labour Government that first championed devolution, I am pleased to see the North East finally getting the voice and control that we deserve.

As our community is so often disregarded by central government, it is vital that we elect representatives who have strong links with the communities they represent and who will fight for our public services, our funding and our future.

The new Mayor will be able to use devolved powers to make decisions in the areas of transport, skills, planning, and economic development, and will represent the two million people in the local authority areas of County Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle, Northumberland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside and Sunderland.

As a figurehead for the North East, the Mayor will be responsible for representing and championing our entire region, tasked with lobbying the Government to ensure support for our communities, and will oversee a budget of over £6bn worth of already confirmed Government investment.

This is why we must choose a Mayor who understands the priorities of those living in the North East and who will be able to provide an alternative to the Tories’ lip service to “levelling up”, by securing the much-needed investment and opportunity we deserve.

Labour’s candidate, Kim McGuinness, who is currently Northumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner, has not only committed to creating infrastructure for opportunity across the North East, and to working alongside businesses to create more well-paid, local jobs, but has, at the core of her policies, a commitment to reducing the rampant child poverty currently plaguing the North East.  In fact, she believes the success of the Mayor should be measured on their success in reducing poverty for our region’s children.

Kim also has a brilliant plan for local transport, pledging to take buses back under public control and to re-open the Leamside Line helping to bring the Metro to Washington, a cause I have long fought for.

As Labour continue to surge ahead in the polls for the imminent general election, it looks increasingly likely that by next year we could have a Labour Government.  Our region needs strong links with central government, and Kim McGuinness as a Labour Mayor in the North East would be best placed to provide this.

The potential that a Labour Mayor with a Labour Government would unleash, is an opportunity that we cannot afford to miss.  We've seen the devastation that the Tories have caused. We must not let that continue and we can stop this.  Vote Labour on May 2nd.

Link to article in the Sunderland Echo >

Link to Kim McGuinness - Labour Mayoral candidate website, 2024 >

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Link to Sunderland Echo website >

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