Teesside's newly elected MPs urged to fight for area's interests

People around Teesside have been voting in an election that will help define how the area’s future over the next four or five years.

The last General Election in 2019 saw Teesside become part of the wider movement that saw many traditional Labour areas swing to the Conservatives. Those seats have been crucial to deciding the result of the 2024 election, with the importance of the area being shown by visits from Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner during the last week of campaigning.

On a visit to a school in Stockton, Mr Sunak said Teesside’s Conservative MPs had “worked their socks off for their local communities” and urged voters to judge his party on its record of delivery for the area.

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But Ms Rayner urged Teesside voters to return to Labour, saying: “We did have a huge defeat in 2019 but we’re back in the service of working people - country first, party second. The contrast with the Conservatives is the chaos, the crashing of the economy, the cost of living crisis and the crisis in our NHS.”

Recent election results have shown that loyalties on Teesside are split between the two main political parties. Tees Valley’s Conservative mayor Ben Houchen won a third term in May but Labour can point to a victory in the vote for Cleveland’s police and crime commissioner, plus the election of Chris Cooke as Middlesbrough mayor and gains in some council elections.

And whoever has been elected as Teesside’s MPs this morning will need to champion the area at a crucial time. Recent years have seen many positives in the area, from some of the developments at Teesworks, the emergence of impressive new companies in the digital economy and the success of institutions like Teesside University and Middlesbrough College.

But challenges still remain: a recent report revealed that almost 50,000 children in the Tees Valley are growing up in poverty and the struggles of our public services have laid bare in a financial crisis at Middlesbrough Council and concerns over the state of some NHS buildings.

Whoever has been elected to represent Teesside’s constituencies will need to champion all of these issues and make sure the Government delivers for the area. The Gazette will support them as long as they do it - and hold them to account if those efforts fall short.