A Darlington Labour councillor has announced he will put his name forward to stand against Ben Houchen in the 2024 Tees Valley Mayor election.

Chris McEwan, Darlington Labour Party deputy leader, believes that he can be Labour's "answer to Ben Houchen".

McEwan grew up in Middlesbrough and he thinks that his experience of the highs and lows of the region has equipped him well for the Mayor role.

He believes he has the "integrity and the energy" to beat Ben Houchen, the current Tees Valley Mayor, in the upcoming election.

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McEwan said: "Growing up in Middlesbrough and living in Darlington I’ve been through all of the region’s highs and lows - I understand the challenges, the dreams and the hopes of bringing up a family and building a life in the Tees Valley.

"That's why I’ve always worked hard to give back to our community.

“As a Councillor, Cabinet member, Deputy Leader, and previous ceremonial Mayor, I've always led with conviction and made things happen.

"I've also achieved results for the Tees Valley outside of politics. I have over three decades of experience in the NHS.

"Improving services for people here and across the North East and I still have input on a national level.”

McEwan's top priorities as Mayor would be to improve the transport of the Tees Valley and attempt to bring communities closer together.

He said: "Our mission should be to improve the health, wealth and happiness of local people and if getting greater transparency is a route to doing that then we need to do that.

"At the moment there is controversy but fundamentally there is a lack of transparency.

"To take things forward we need to change in that direction."

The Labour councillor described his vision of Tees Valley as the "beating heart" of the upcoming green energy revolution.

He said: "As Mayor, I’ll unlock the true potential of our region and fight to make sure that no one is left behind.

"We transformed the world with our steel and our railways and we can do it again, by making the Tees Valley the beating heart of the green revolution.

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"Leading the way in moving to net zero and bringing long-term, well paid and secure jobs to our region.

"Another key focus will be the hydrogen agenda, harnessing that technology and making us nationally and internationally competitive.

"But this won’t happen by accident.

"We will need to shape the skills of the next generation and  improve our underfunded transport infrastructure to connect communities to opportunities."

Luke Henman has also announced that he would like to be Labour's candidate opposing Ben Houchen in the election next year.

Ben Houchen has said that he will be standing again for the election in May 2024.

He won a landslide victory in 2021 and he hopes to continue his winning streak.