Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Momentum Eye Upset as Labour's Mayoral Race Cut to Three Runners

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Momentum Eye Upset as Labour's Mayoral Race Cut to Three Runners

Article excerpt

Byline: SEAN SEDDON Reporter

NICK Forbes is leading the way in the race to become Labour's North of Tyne mayoral candidate - as the race once again narrowed to three candidates.

Coun Forbes, the leader of Newcastle City Council, secured the backing of four constituency Labour party groups (CLPs), plus five unions and associated organisations.

But Momentum-backed Jamie Driscoll, who had never held elected office before May 2018, landed backing from five CLPs and two trade unions, marking him out as the main challenger to Coun Forbes.

Cullercoats councillor Karen Lee, who entered the race when Labour party bosses suspended the process after it produced an all-male slate of candidates, also secured enough backing to progress to the next stage.

North East MEP Paul Brannen didn't secure the requisite support needed to make it through and confirmed at the weekend that he is withdrawing.

The three remaining candidates will be interviewed by party bosses tomorrow before the final list of candidates is put to members who will choose the eventual nominee to fight the landmark May 2 election.

Coun Forbes said: "I'm proud to have the support of unions and social movements from across the North East. I want to be the mayor who stands up to Tory austerity and puts our public services first.

"As mayor I will fight for a fair deal for our region, and campaign against cuts to public health budgets and the privatisation of our NHS.

"I have set out a plan for building homes and challenging rogue landlords, creating jobs and improving our schools."

But with membership having skewed left in recent years under Mr Corbyn, Coun Driscoll, who represents the Monument ward in Newcastle, still looks likely to mount a significant challenge.

He said: "I'm the only candidate in the race who represents the politics of Jeremy Corbyn, while the rest are closer to New Labour traditions.

"Nothing is in the bag until it's over - if the last three years in politics has taught us anything, it's that. …

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