Driscoll has been gracious in defeat after losing North East Mayor election

Last Updated: May 5, 2024By

Jamie Driscoll has been gracious in defeat after losing the North East Mayor election.

Here’s what he had to say about it:

Considering the way the Labour Party – whose candidate won – treated him, this is extremely statesmanlike from the now-former North of Tyne Mayor.

He was formerly a member of the Labour Party but left because of its mistreatment of him.

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Let’s remind ourselves (courtesy of Wikipedia):

Four candidates were nominated. Serving North of Tyne Mayor Jamie Driscoll. PCC Kim McGuinness. Former MEP Paul Brannen. Newcastle City Councillor Nicu Ion.

Driscoll was elected to Newcastle City Council in 2018 to represent Monument ward. Driscoll stood for selection to be Labour’s candidate in the 2019 North of Tyne mayoral election, defeating Newcastle council leader Nick Forbes in February 2019. He ran as the more radical candidate after being supported by left-wing figures, including shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, Noam Chomsky, Paul Mason, Clive Lewis and Laura Pidcock. He also had organisational support from Unite the Union, RMT, Fire Brigades Union, TSSA and Aslef.

Driscoll ran on a platform with five primary pledges: Community Wealth Building, Green Industrial Revolution, Setting up Community Hubs, Building Affordable Homes, and Meaningful Adult Education, winning the 2019 North of Tyne mayoral election with 56.1% of the vote. His role was due to be subsumed by the new North East mayoralty.

McGuinness was elected Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner in 2019. She had served on Newcastle City Council since 2015. She said that everything she would fund as mayor would need to contribute to ending child poverty. She also proposed a £1-per-night hotel levy to raise money to invest in culture and events. She is considered to be aligned with Labour Party leader Keir Starmer.

Brannen served as an MEP for North East England from 2014 to 2019. He said he would use green industry to achieve full employment in the region.

Nicu Ion is a maths teacher who was first elected to Newcastle City Council in 2021, becoming the first Roma migrant to be elected in the UK.

In June 2023, Driscoll was barred from the selection process to determine a Labour Party candidate for Mayor of the North East. The controversial decision was defended by Starmer-ally Baroness Chapman of Darlington as “simply guaranteeing the highest quality candidates”. Unite the Union and its general secretary, Sharon Graham, criticised the decision to exclude Driscoll. Andy Burnham, and Steve Rotheram described the Labour Party as undemocratic, opaque and unfair. Aditya Chakrabortty wrote in The Guardian that Driscoll was a “victim of McCarthyism”. It was understood that the decision was based on appearing at an event with Ken Loach. He later resigned from Labour and … announced he [would] fight the 2024 North East mayoral election as an independent.

Subsequently, 11 of 22 constituency Labour parties in the region refused to endorse any mayoral candidate in protest.

Ion was not shortlisted, leaving members to choose between Brannen and McGuinness. McGuinness won selection with 76% of the vote. However, the number of votes in the selection contest was never published, unlike the 2019 selection. A Labour source said under 50% of eligible party members voted.

On 17 July 2023, Labour announced it had selected McGuinness as its candidate for mayor.

Some might consider the whole selection process to have been a stitch-up, intended to ensure that a Starmer ally was selected as the candidate.

This Writer hopes the people of the North East region are happy with their choice of Mayor. She won convincingly, with more than 180,000 votes against Mr Driscoll’s 126,000.

Now she must be held to her promises on child poverty, culture and events. And the people of the former North of Tyne Mayoralty should pay close attention to what happens to Mr Driscoll’s achievements.

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One Comment

  1. The Toffee May 5, 2024 at 6:42 pm - Reply

    “He ran as the more radical candidate after being supported by left-wing figures, including shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, Noam Chomsky, Paul Mason,”

    Mason… Left?


    Just NO.

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