Labour's Tees Valley mayoral candidate says he's 'always been committed to Darlington'

Tees Valley Labour Party candidate, Chris McEwan
Tees Valley Labour Party candidate, Chris McEwan -Credit:Newcastle Chronicle

Labour's Tees Valley mayoral candidate has reiterated his commitment to serving Darlington after losing out to Ben Houchen in last week's election.

Chris McEwan said he has continued his focus on supporting the town and improving the council's financial position. The deputy leader of Darlington Council and cabinet member for economy received 63,000 votes, but it wasn't enough to stop Lord Houchen from winning a third term as mayor, who secured almost 82,000 votes.

Cllr McEwan had repeatedly been criticised by his political rivals in the town for choosing to stand in the mayoral race. Conservative leader Jonathan Dulston questioned whether he was still committed to serving Darlington in December.

"We need a portfolio holder that's absolutely committed to driving the economic strategy forward," said cllr Dulston. Cllr McEwan was present at the local authority's cabinet meeting on Tuesday and dismissed the Tory's criticism.

He said: "I have always been committed to Darlington and fulfilled my role. More importantly, I was committed both to my work and also my domestic chores."

The Labour candidate also came second among voters in Darlington. Cllr McEwan has been a Darlington councillor for almost 25 years but lost out to Lord Houchen, who received over 4,000 more votes from people in the town.

Despite coming second in the mayoral race, Cllr McEwan said his party can be reassured by the 17 per cent swing against the Tories in Tees Valley. Speaking on Thursday, he said: "There is a recognition on the doorstep that the Labour Party has changed and that now is a time for change after 14 years of Conservative government.

"Time and time again, I have heard it's time for change - I'm sick of this lot."