Labour source concedes Tees Valley mayoral vote to Tory incumbent Ben Houchen

A Labour source has conceded the mayoral vote in Tees Valley to Conservative incumbent Ben Houchen.

The source said Lord Houchen had won with a significantly reduced majority compared with 2021, and that he had distanced himself from Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, running his campaign as a “pseudo-independent.”

Lord Houchen declined to declare victory, telling Sky News: “I would never take anything for granted and we are going to see over the next hour how the results turn out.”

He denied that he had shied away from campaigning as a Conservative or mentioning Mr Sunak in his campaign literature during the Tees Valley mayoral contest.

He told Sky News: “We absolutely don’t shy away from that at all, and Rishi’s been up during the campaign and we have always said Rishi’s been a great friend to the people of Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool.”

He added that the Prime Minister had been “a huge champion for this area”.

Lord Houchen has won four of five local authorities to vote in the Tees Valley mayoral election, with just Stockton still to be announced.

In Redcar, Lord Houchen polled 15,987 votes against 12,015 for Labour candidate Chris McEwan and 1,639 for Liberal Democrat Simon Thorley.

The sitting mayor polled 10,074 in Hartlepool compared with 8,732 for Mr McEwan and 972 for Mr Thorley.

In Middlesbrough, the Tory polled 13,285 over Mr McEwan, who had 12,749 and 1,390 for Mr Thorley.

In Darlington, he polled 14,233, ahead of 10,014 for Labour and 1,849 for the Liberal Democrats.

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