North of Tyne Combined Authority mayoral hopefuls throw hats into ring
Five candidates hoping to head a new combined authority in the north east of England have told the BBC why people should vote for them.
The North of Tyne Combined Authority (NTCA), covering Northumberland, Newcastle and North Tyneside, was set up in 2018 in a £600m devolution deal.
Voting will take place for its directly-elected mayor on 2 May.
The mayor will work with the three councils on issues such as economic development, education, and planning.
John Appleby: Lib Dems
The former head of mechanical engineering at Newcastle University said he would put the interests of local people above those of the "local political elite".
"Our region and our country needs an alternative to the failed two-party political establishment," Mr Appleby said.
"I shall make every effort to help people to work together for the wellbeing of this area: education, environment, health, opportunity and sustainable prosperity."
Jamie Driscoll: Labour
The Momentum-backed city councillor, and former engineer, said his policies would "help make a real difference to people's everyday lives".
These include community housing co-operatives, a green energy company, and a "people's bank".
He said: "We need a Labour mayor now more than ever to...make our voice heard in Westminster and get the investment we sorely need for our schools, services and NHS."
Charlie Hoult: Conservative
The developer and entrepreneur has pledged to focus on creating jobs, improving skills provision, driving up education standards and "delivering impact projects".
He said: "It's an opportunity to put belief back into our region: pride, confidence, ambition and growth.
"The past casts a long shadow over the North East but I want to be mayor to inspire it to think bigger and get in shape for the next Industrial Revolution."
Hugh Jackson: UKIP
The former North Tyneside councillor and teacher described the mayoral role as "vital at a time of great change and potential for the area".
He said he wanted to "rekindle the fire and drive that made it the powerhouse and envy of the world".
"A new era of industrial revolution lies ahead and I want to ensure [people] enjoy and benefit from the opportunities presented," Mr Jackson added.
John McCabe: Independent
The businessman, who is coming to the end of a two-year stint as president of the North East Chamber of Commerce, said he was "not tied to any party machine".
"I'm not tied to a head office in London, I can speak as I find," Mr McCabe said.
"I believe one of the mayor's first priorities should be to start making the case for more devolved powers and more funding to deliver lasting, meaningful change."