Former Tory mayoral candidate standing in Newcastle North

Conservative candidate for North East mayor, Guy Renner-Thompson
-Credit: (Image: Newcastle Chronicle)

The Conservative's candidate in the North East mayoral election will represent the party in Newcastle North at the general election.

Guy Renner-Thompson, who is also a cabinet member at Northumberland County Council, has confirmed he will stand for the Tories in the seat next month. The seat has been held by Labour since 1983, but has been significantly redrawn under the latest boundary commission review - just 41.3% of the previous seat is included in the new one.

The portfolio holder for education in Northumberland does have a history with the constituency. He was born there and then lived in the area during his studies at university.

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Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, the Bamburgh councillor said: "I'm looking forward to getting out and about in the constituency. We have got a few hustings events planned and it is good to give the people of Newcastle a solid Conservative voice for loyal Conservative supporters to vote for."

According to Britain Elects' poll tracker, the Tories are currently 21.3 points behind Labour on 22%. If an election was held tomorrow, this would leave Labour with 409 MPs and the Tories with just 151.

Asked what the party needed to do to win back voters, Coun Renner-Thompson said: "Where we have hard-working candidates, we win. We've seen that in the past few by-elections in the North East.

"We've just got to get out there with our positive message for the region. The Government has put huge amounts of money into the North East, we need to reinforce the message that Labour took the region for granted last time and got nothing done."

Coun Renner-Thompson came third in the mayoral race behind Labour's Kim McGuinness and Independent candidate Jamie Driscoll, attracting 52,446 votes. However, in Newcastle he received just 5,012 votes and came behind Aidan King of the Liberal Democrats.

Despite this, he felt his experience would serve him well in the general election campaign. He also confirmed he remained opposed to the city's controversial clean air zone.

Coun Renner-Thompson continued: "We came third in the mayoral race, we gave Conservatives in the region a voice to vote for - it's clear that has given me a bit of a profile, but we're always talking about tomorrow, always fighting the next battle.

"There are two main strands to my campaign. Building on some of the success we had from the mayoral campaign, I still think the clean air zone is something that needs to go. I'm glad the council did away with the low traffic zones in Jesmond but we need to keep the pressure on.

"I also think we need to build more student accommodation. This part of the city has a poor balance of residents and students. We need purpose-built student accommodation and we need to get the students into that so there is more housing for people in the city."

Catherine McKinnell, who has been the Labour MP for Newcastle North, is standing once again next month. The other candidates for the seat are fellow mayoral candidate Aidan King for the Liberal Democrats, Independent candidate King Teare, Sarah Peters of the Green Party, Deborah Lorraine for Reform UK and Martin Evison of the Social Democratic Party.

According to the election model created by Britain Elects and the New Statesman, Labour are currently polling at 51.3% in the constituency. The Conservatives are a distant second on 15.4%.