Jeremy Middleton has become the first politician to declare his intention to run in the North East mayoral election, which is expected to take place in May 2017.
He made the announcement on February 18 at Durham County Cricket Club that he is seeking the Conservative Party nomination for the North East Region, which includes the Newcastle, Durham, Northumberland, Sunderland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside and Gateshead local authority areas.
The businessman and philanthropist, who sits on the North East Local Economic Partnership board and chairs its investment fund, outlined his priorities for the region at the event, including support for the NHS, investment in schools and work experience to create more opportunities for young people, and a billion-pound jobs and investment fund to tackle unemployment and create better positions. He also called for a fairer funding settlement for the region and more investment in transport infrastructure.
Jeremy said: “I want to be mayor because I am passionate about making sure we invest more in skills, apprenticeships and jobs here in the North East. I want our young people to have the same life chances here as they do everywhere else in our country. I’m frustrated that the North East gets a raw deal.
“The mayor must be able to stand up to vested interests, both from within our region and from outside it. That is why we need a mayor with a strong independent voice and not a career politician. I am a member of the Conservative Party, however they may or may not endorse me, and whatever the outcome, I do not and will not hesitate to criticise the Government if it fails to deliver.”
* Delivering 100,000 new North East jobs by 2021 using a £1-billion Mayor’s Jobs and Investment Fund.
* A Kids Promise, delivering a new programme of work experience and careers advice that leads to every young person having a job, apprenticeship or continuing education when they leave school.
* Delivering on an NHS Promise to free up hospital beds, focusing on prevention, and putting doctors and health professionals at the heart of decision making.
* A Get to Work Promise of dualling the A1 and A69, championing a better bus network for rural communities, and working to expand the Metro to link Ashington, Washington, Team Valley, and Durham.
* Delivering, through negotiation with Whitehall, a fair financial settlement with similar public funding per head as Scotland, and the generation of significant additional private sector investment in the region.