TEES Valley Mayor Ben Houchen has vowed he will not be silenced over speaking out about Cleveland Police after it emerged the force had made an official complaint against him.

It comes as Labour Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger said he will be seeking re-election in 2020 if selected, amid calls for him to stand down when Chief Constable Mike Veale resigned suddenly last week.

And Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland MP Simon Clarke has a meeting fixed with Home Secretary Sajid Javid next month to discuss a wide-ranging review of Cleveland Police, The Northern Echo has learned.

Last week, Cleveland Police officially complained to the Tees Valley Combined Authority, claiming that Mr Houchen's comments that he understood the detail of the allegations made against Mr Veale, were detrimental to the alleged victims as their anonymity needs to be protected.

However, Mr Houchen told The Northern Echo: "I will not be gagged by Cleveland Police.

"The complaint they have made against me is completely unfounded. There is no legal basis for it whatsoever and I will not be bullied or harassed into silence. I think it is right that I should raise legitimate concerns of a very serious nature about Cleveland Police and their reaction is just another example of their modus operandi which is to bully, intimidate and try to harass people who challenge them.

"If Barry Coppinger thinks I am going to be quiet about this then he has got another thing coming."

It is the second time Cleveland Police has taken issue with Mr Houchen's comments. Last year they wrote to him after comments he made about the investigation into Detective Inspector Simon Hurwood, who was accused of sexual misconduct against 21 women.

The force warned him that he risked breaching contempt of court laws by criticising the force following media reports that a senior officer had been suspended over sexual misconduct ­– which later turned out to be Hurwood.

Meanwhile, Mr Houchen is arranging a meeting with the Home Secretary to press for one of the Mayor's election pledges – a wide-ranging review into Cleveland Police following a series of scandals including allegations of racism and the monitoring the phones of journalists from The Northern Echo and the Press Association.

Conservative MP Mr Clarke already has a meeting arranged with the minister early next month to raise his concerns about the force and press for a review.

A spokesman for Mr Coppinger said: "The Police and Crime Commissioner is aware that correspondence has been sent to the Monitoring Officer to the Tees Valley Combined Authority, by Cleveland Police’s legal advisors.

"This correspondence raises concerns about the lawfulness of certain aspects of the Mayor’s public comments and the impact those remarks might have on person(s) who challenge improper conduct by police officers – and also prejudicing the legal process.

"These are important issues and the PCC calls upon the Mayor to exercise responsibility and restraint in his public remarks."

He added that Mr Coppinger hopes to stand again in 2020, subject to the Labour party's selection process.

The decision comes despite calls for him to resign last week as he appointed his fifth Chief Constable in his seven-year-tenure as the force's elected crime chief.