The first candidate to put his hat in the ring to become the North East’s first elected mayor next year has resigned from the Conservative Party.
Jeremy Middleton CBE, a former parliamentary candidate and former chairman of the Conservative National Convention, took the decision because he believes that the newly-created mayors should be independent of party politics.
He reached the decision following the London Mayoral election and the announcement of high-profile Labour MPs seeking office in the North West.
Mr Middleton said: “This is not about party politics, it is about the North East. This region needs candidates focused exclusively on its interests and not people with one eye on their party careers.
“I want to be able to speak my mind unencumbered by any other interest.
The North East needs a change of direction. I will be a fair-minded mayor with solid business experience yet willing to call-out both the Conservative Government and Labour councils in order to get people the results they expect and deserve.
“We need to end the factionalism and childish Westminster arguments that dominate our local politics. I will embrace all the talents of all the people in our region to deliver better schools, better skills, bigger businesses and more and better paid jobs.”