A RARE accident of political timing and geography brought both leaders of the main political parties to the North-East yesterday ahead of May 6’s elections.

The Hartlepool Parliamentary seat is one that Labour under its new leader, Keir Starmer, has to hold on to, but one in which Boris Johnson’s Conservatives feel they have unfinished business from the 2019 election as they would probably have won it when the red wall fell had it not been for a high profile Brexit Party candidate.

The Tees Valley mayoral election is a straight red versus blue fight and in County Durham, the Tories are dreaming of winkling Labour out of overall control of the county council for the first time since the 1920s, and so another Government minister was up yesterday stomping around Weardale railways.

Very soon, this moment of importance will pass. The political bandwagon will move on. Whoever is elected in whatever capacity on May 6 must seize this moment to lever investment out of central government for the benefit of the whole region.

Once the spotlight shifts, it will probably be some years before it returns, so our elected representatives must make the most of this moment.