UPDATE – 21st April 2021: The deadline for nominations has now passed so only the two candidates we have already written to will be standing in the election for Tees Valley Mayor: Ben Houchen, the Conservative candidate and current Mayor, and Jessie Jacobs, the Labour candidate. Despite writing to both of these candidates on several occasions to ask them for answers to the specific questions we put to them, both have failed to do so as of yet.
UPDATE – 24th March 2021: We had previously written to the two candidates who had been declared: Cllr Jessie Jo Jacobs of the Labour Party and the current incumbent of the Mayoral position, Ben Houchen of the Conservative and Unionist Party. There being no further candidates announced since then, we set about finding out whether any of the other parties that we thought might stand, intended to do so. These were: The North East Party, The Green Party, The Yorkshire Party and the Liberal Democrat Party.
The purpose of contacting the candidates is to ask each of them specific questions of particular interest to YDM and readers of our website (see: here). Of the two candidates who are standing, we have so far received no answers to our questions from either, instead, receiving what appears to be a Newsletter from the Conservative candidate and no reply at all from the Labour candidate.
Of the further parties we enquired about, we have yet to receive a response of any kind from the Green Party; Both the North East Party and the Yorkshire Party have confirmed to us that they will not be standing because they feel the amount required for the deposit would be better utilised in the Local Council elections; We have also learned via a news report by Stuart Arnold in “Teesside Live”, that the Liberal Democrats have no intention to stand either.
Cllr Susan McDonnel, Leader of the North East Party, said, “Although we do not generally agree with the Mayoral position, we have considered standing a candidate for the Tees Valley in the past. That said and similarly with the police and crime commissioner roles; our view is that the £5,000 deposit required, is deliberately set at that level to dissuade individuals and smaller parties from applying and instead favours applicants from larger political groups who have the financial resources at their disposal. Our intention is to concentrate our efforts on the forthcoming local elections which are happening elsewhere in the North East“.
Similarly, Dr Bob Buxton, Leader of the Yorkshire Party, said, “In the ideal world, we would contest the Tees Valley election – since I’m from Guisborough originally, the area is close to my heart. Unfortunately, our resources are stretched to the max contesting the West Yorkshire and Doncaster Mayorals, along with many council seats. As you say, many parts of this area are within Yorkshire but those parts that are not in Yorkshire would make it very difficult for us to retain our deposit”.
We have written again to Ben Houchen, Jessie Jo Jacobs and the Green Party and shall keep you informed of any further responses we receive.