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The people of Hartlepool have voted to reject the mayoral system after ten years.
On a low turnout of just 18 per cent, total of 7,366 people voted to reject the mayoral system and return to a traditional committee system.
That compared to 5,177 voters who wanted to keep the mayoral system.
The Labour Party in Hartlepool campaigned against the mayoral system.
The Labour group is now the most powerful on Hartlepool Borough Council and will have a clear majority on all the committees.
Councillor Carl Richardson, deputy leader of Hartlepool Labour Party said: "It was a good result for democracy."
Counting is underway at the referendum on whether to keep a directly elected mayor in Hartlepool.
Nothing is confirmed and it is very early but The Northern Echo has been told turn-out is low, about 15 per cent, and early indications seem to indicate a tight race.
Some people at the count say it looks as if the people of Hartlepool may reject the mayoral system.
The Labour Party has campaigned in the town to abolish the mayoral system. If successful the Labour group will be the most powerful political grouping on Hartlepool Council.
TEN years of directly elected mayors could come to an end tonight in Hartlepool.
Voters are still going to the polls in the town to decide whether to keep directly elected mayors or return to a traditional committee system.
Stuart Drummond has won all three mayoral elections so far.
He said he has not made up his mind whether to stand again next May if the people of Hartlepool decide to keep directly mayors.
However he has argued that the system should be kept as the most democratic option because every voter can consider issues affecting the whole town and it gives the mayor a clear mandate. He will not be attending tonight's count.
The most powerful group arguing for a return to the committee system is the town’s Labour Party, the biggest political grouping on the council.
Hartlepool Labour’s leadership has argued the committee system would be more democratic because elected councillors representing specific wards would receive more power. They also argue the mayor system is too expensive.
Both sides say they are unsure which way the vote will go. Polling stations close at 10pm. Results and reaction will be posed on this blog.
Polling stations across North Yorkshire reported turn-out as slow.
By 1pm today many polling stations in York had reported single-figure turnouts.
Hambleton and Richmondshire District Council said polling stations had been "very quiet" and voting slow across the district.
Significant number of voters appear to be saying they will be registering their protest by spoiling ballot papers.
City of York Council has said it will publish the number of spoilt ballot papers received, but this figure will probably not be established until after the election outcome is declared.
A CATHEDRAL funeral service will be held next week for a North-east soldier killed in Afghanistan.
A funeral service with full military honours will be held for Lieutenant Edward Drummond-Baxter in Durham Cathedral on Tuesday (November 20) at 2pm.
The 29-year-old, who lived with his parents near Consett, was killed alongside Lance Corporal Siddhanta Kunwar on October 30, one month into his first tour of duty in Afghanistan.
Both soldiers, from the 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles, were attending a meeting in Nahr-e Saraj when a man in Afghan police uniform opened fire.
Motorists are facing traffic chaos in Bishop Auckland after a two car collision.
The emergency services are in attendance at the two car crash on the roundabout linking Newgate Street, Cockton Hill Road and Bob Hardisty Drive in the town centre
One person has been cut free and taken to hospital, along with a second adult, for treatment on what are believed to be minor injuries.
The incident took place at about 12.50pm.
Police officers are on the scene diverting traffic while crash investigations are carried out.
The thoughts of the team and myself, engaged on the search for Graham Roskell are with his family and friends at this difficult time.— @suptaubreysmith 15 November 2012
Hall weighs in at the Dolphin Centre #echosport http://t.co/rW2l6hU3— @MasonEcho 15 November 2012
DURHAM CROWN COURT: A MAN has appeared in court accused of causing a fatal accident at the weekend.
Pantelimon Ovidiu Iordache appeared at Durham Crown Court this morning charged in connection with the death of pedestrian Dean Laing, who was involved in an accident on Claypath, in Durham City, early on Saturday.
The 37-year-old is believed to have been walking home to Gilesgate after a night out in the city centre when the accident took place.
Mr Iordache was subsequently charged with causing death by dangerous driving and failing to stop after an accident.
The case was adjourned for a plea hearing in the New Year.
POLICE POWERS: NEW powers allowing the police to seize booze from adults drinking in the streets of Stanley came into force today.
Officers will be able to confiscate alcohol from anyone they believe is causing disruption or disorder in large parts of the County Durham town.
The Designated Public Places Orders cover Stanley town centre, part of South Moor, Hollyhill Gardens and surrounding streets in South Stanley, Annfield Plain, New Kyo and Catchgate.
A1 INCIDENT: TEENAGERS who threw breeze blocks and bags of cement off a motorway footbridge onto cars driving along the A1(M) in County Durham are being hunted by police.
At least one lorry was hit and damaged earlier this week at Coxhoe, near Durham City.
There have been a number of similar incidents in the area in recent months and in one attack in September a lorry driver had to go to hospital to have glass removed from his eyes.
Police spokesman says: "It is only a matter of time before someone is seriously injured if the persons responsible are not apprehended".
Do you recognise this male? Call Durham Police on 101.
PCC: More voter comment from the polling station at the Friends Meeting House on Cambridge Road in Middlesbrough:
Mohammed Majid, from Linthorpe: “I voted for the Labour candidate because he is a local person and I think he will be good for the job. The campaign has been a bit weak though and generally only publicised in newspapers with not much being done by the candidates themselves.”
PCC: I've been out around polling stations in Teesside chatting to those casting votes in the election for Cleveland's Police and Crime Commissioner.
First stop was The Roundel Pub in Thornaby but there were no voters to speak to.
The polling station at Thornaby Central Library had seen around 15 voters by mid-morning.
One voter, Pat McKie, from Thornaby, said: “I am voting for Labour because I am Labour. I don’t really know who he is, though. We did not have enough information through the door about what the candidates’ policies are. How are we supposed to know who we are voting for? It’s all been a bit confusing. I have not really given a fair vote, I have just voted for the Labour party because I didn’t have enough information.”
Janet Porteous, 81, from Thornaby, said: “I voted for Labour and my second choice was Alam because I am a Labour supporter and because Thornaby is independent and so is Alam. There has not been enough information and people do not even know why they are voting. If there had been more information, there might be more people here to vote. There is not enough out there about what they are going to do or who is going to be in charge.”
Putting the D&S Times together, deadline at 1pm. The fact I have the Sonic the Hedgehog level one music in my head is not helping.— @MasonEcho 15 November 2012
Off to Rockliffe to see Mowbray to talk Cardiff. Hope there's a decent biscuit selection on the go today.— @StephClarkEcho 15 November 2012