Conservative candidate for Cramlington and Killingworth Ian Levy insists Conservatives are 'moving forward'

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The Conservative candidate for Cramlington and Killingworth has conceeded that his party has not “covered itself in glory” in recent years.

However, former Blyth Valley MP Ian Levy maintains he can win the seat and insists the Tories are the best option for the country. Making his pitch to voters, Mr Levy pointed to the level of investment he had helped to bring into the area.

The former healthcare assistant also defended his decision to contest the Cramlington and Killingworth seat, rather than the Ashington and Blyth Seat. Mr Levy’s wife, Maureen, is fighting for the latter after Boundary Commission review saw the abolition of the Blyth Valley and Wansbeck constituencies.

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Mr Levy said: “I admit we have not covered ourselves in glory but as Rishi Sunak said, we have a plan, the Labour Party do not have a plan, and we are moving forward.”

Ian Levy is contesting the Cramlington and Killingworth seat. (Photo by Ian Levy)Ian Levy is contesting the Cramlington and Killingworth seat. (Photo by Ian Levy)
Ian Levy is contesting the Cramlington and Killingworth seat. (Photo by Ian Levy)

After the Britishvolt gigafactory project collapsed and subsequent attempts by Australian startup Recharge Industries to restart the project never materialised, Mr Levy said he was left “disappointed.”

The site has now been purchased by American firm Blackstone with plans to create an AI data centre. Despite significant investment the overall number of jobs created will be far lower than the gigafactory, which would have produced electric car batteries.

Mr Levy said: “I was disappointed it did not turn out the way I hoped because a lot of energy went in to it, including from me.

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“Britishvolt was asking for £15m in taxpayers money. We were asking them for a proper business plan and they did not come up with the goods. At least we tried.

“What is moving forward is JDR Cables, which is coming out of the ground, and will bring high-skilled, well-paid jobs to Blyth Estuary.”

Asked about his achievements during his time in office, Mr Levy said: “If I had to pick one, I am going to go for the Northumberland Line.

“That is going to make a massive difference. It was closed during the Beeching cuts and for all our lives that has been talked about and nothing has been done. We have pushed really hard to deliver it.

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“We have got £50m coming into Seaton Valley for a new, all-singing, all-dancing high school. We have built new schools in Cramlington and Blyth and we have the Blyth Energy Central centre teaching youngsters on how to get involved in the renewable energy sector.

“All in all, there has been around £400m invested in the area. You find me another MP who has brought £400m into Blyth Valley and I will eat my hat.”

Former Wansbeck MP and Labour candidate for Ashington and Blyth Ian Lavery has argued that despite the investment in the area, residents still feel poorer than they did in 2010.

Asked about his decision to run in Cramlington, Mr Levy continued: “Basically, it was a decision taken by the Electoral Commission and we have to decide where we want to stand.

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“Cramlington and Killingworth has about two thirds of my former constituency. People say I have turned my back on Blyth, but if I had gone the other way, I would have turned my back on the other two thirds. You cannot win.”

Mr Levy is up against Lib Dem Thom Campion, Labour’s Emma Foody, Green candidate Ian Jones, Reform UK’s Gordon Fletcher, Mathew Wilkinson for the Social Democratic Party, and independents Scott Lee and Dawn Furness.