General Election: Independent councillor will contest Cramlington and Killingworth seat

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Independent county councillor Scott Lee has announced he is standing in next month’s general election.

Cllr Lee, who has represented the Cramlington East ward since 2021, will stand in the newly created Cramlington and Killingworth constituency.

A former pub landlord, Cllr Lee believes he can fend off Labour and the Conservatives to land the seat, and was motivitated to stand after a controversial proposal to build a vast new housing estate near Cramlington was mooted.

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He said: “There were a few different issues. One was the Dysart development which is on my doorstep. It has got a lot of residents up in arms.

Independent councillor Scott Lee is standing at the general election in Cramlington and Killingworth. (Photo by Scott Lee)Independent councillor Scott Lee is standing at the general election in Cramlington and Killingworth. (Photo by Scott Lee)
Independent councillor Scott Lee is standing at the general election in Cramlington and Killingworth. (Photo by Scott Lee)

“We passed a local plan in Cramlington saying the town is full of big housing developments, and now there is another one.

"Labour’s policy on housing is to make it easier for these developments to get improved.

“A vote for me is a vote to stop the development. The Tories are finished in the seat, there is no way they’re going to win, but I think a strong independent candidate can challenge Labour.

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“I achieved a 43% swing for my county council seat. If I could replicate that across the whole constituency, we could win.”

According to the model produced by Britain Elects and the New Statesman, Labour are currently polling at 54.7% in Cramlington and Killingworth, while the Conservatives are at 28.1%. These figures don’t account for Cllr Lee’s decision to stand.

Cllr Lee continued: “I think the government is too big and tax is too high. I am actually in favour of increasing the tax threshold up to £40,000 and asking those at the top to pay more through a wealth tax.

“As a county councillor, I am finding working families coming to me to refer them to a food bank. If you are working full time and having to go to food banks, something is not right with the system.

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“From what I have seen, the burden is falling on ordinary working people to pay more tax.

"I am a pub landlord by trade and I spent over 20 years running pubs around the region. I have got a good feel for the issues.

“On the doorstep, the thing that is coming through is the cost of living. It is affecting people in so many ways.

“The government has the levers to reduce the burden if they wanted to do something about it. They could reduce insurance premium tax or fuel duty.”

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Cllr Lee will be contesting the seat against Labour’s Emma Foody and former Blyth Valley MP Ian Levy. Cllr Lee claimed there is little to separate the two parties.

He said: “You could not get a cigarette paper between Labour and the Tories. It is switching one government for another with the exact same policies.

“With government, there would be some things that I agree with and some I do not. With Labour and Tory MPs, they get told how to vote.

“If Labour win the majority they are predicted, you would end up with 400 nodding dogs in parliament. As an independent, you are free of this.”

The other candidates for the seat are Lib Dem Thom Campion, Gordon Fletcher of Reform UK, independent Dawn Furness, the Green Party’s Ian Jones, and Mathew Wilkinson of the Social Democratic Party.