Former North of Tyne Mayor Jamie Driscoll confirms he won't stand at the General Election

Jamie Driscoll, the former North of Tyne mayor
-Credit: (Image: Iain Buist/Newcastle Chronicle)

The former North of Tyne Mayor Jamie Driscoll will not be standing to be an MP in the upcoming General Election.

Speaking prior to the election being called, Mr Driscoll told the Local Democracy Reporting Service he was "undecided" on whether to stand. However, following Rishi Sunak's decision to go to the polls on July 4, the former Labour mayor has made his intentions known via social media.

In a lengthy post, Mr Driscoll - who came second in the race to become the new North East Mayor earlier this month - criticised what he described as the country's "two party system", claiming the Conservatives and Labour are pushing similar policies. He also reiterated his plans to create a network of independents to contest council and parliamentary seats across the North East in the future.

Mr Driscoll wrote: "It takes time to build a narrative in politics. Despite getting 25,018 votes in Newcastle three weeks ago, and lots of people encouraging me, I will not be standing in this snap General Election.

"Instead, I will be building a movement to change things long-term. Our two-party system and first-past-the-post makes the result a foregone conclusion.

"Successive Conservative Governments have heightened wealth inequality, corroded our public services, and fiddled while the planet burns. Very few Tories want to defend that record. Keir Starmer will be Prime Minster.

"What comes next is also a foregone conclusion. Deemed a safe pair of hands by the establishment, Sir Keir and those around him will continue failed Conservative economic policies.

"When it comes out, Labour’s manifesto should be called 'Tinkering around the edges'. So how do we effect democratic change?

"Labour’s plan to fix nothing will quickly lose popularity. Next May, Northumberland and Durham have all-out council elections. May 2026 will see all-out elections in Newcastle, Gateshead, Sunderland, and South Tyneside, and council elections in North Tyneside.

"Then May 2028 is the North East Mayoral election. Even under first past the post we can win these and build for the next General Election.

"I will be building a network of North East independents. People committed to democratic accountability, high standards in public life, and putting working people first - including those not paid for their work, unable to work or retired from a lifetime of work."

Speaking for the Conservative Party regionally, Northumberland County Council deputy leader Coun Richard Wearmouth defended the party's record in the North East.

He said: "Under Tony Blair’s Labour government, the only thing we got in the North East was ignored and taken for granted. By contrast the Conservative Party in the last 12 years has invested massively in the North East’s future prosperity.

“The Newcastle Western Bypass improvements, the Silverlink and Testos flyovers, the Northumberland Line, the new Metro Fleet, the Tyne Bridge restoration, the £4.2bn devolution deal, the Borderlands Growth Deal, hundreds of millions of pounds in levelling up funds, future high street funds and Town Deals - all of it is investment we never would have had under Labour.

"The choice in this General Election is clear, empowerment and progress under the Conservatives or to go back to being ignored and taken for granted by Labour.”

Responding to Mr Driscoll's attack, a Labour source added: "The only reason Jamie Driscoll isn't standing in this election is because he knows he would've lost, just like he did in May.

"This election is an opportunity to change our country for the better. Keir Starmer is the only one offering a clear vision for the future, while Rishi Sunak leads as he always has, with chaos and gimmicks."