A senior Labour MP and shadow cabinet member has said the North East has “enormous potential” the party announces the implementation of the ‘Take Back Control Act’, giving further devolved powers to local leaders should they be elected.

Speaking in Hartlepool yesterday afternoon (March 28) Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting stated the party “learned the hard way” in taking voters for granted previously as the local and general elections loom.

Mr Streeting, who was appointed as a shadow minister in 2021, spoke as the party announced their Take Back Control Act which is said to “unlock a new wave of devolution” to help kickstart growth in local areas after levelling up has “let working people down” according to Sir Keir Starmer.

The Northern Echo: Wes Streeting in Hartlepool joined by Labour's Tees Valley Mayor candidate Chris McEwan.Wes Streeting in Hartlepool joined by Labour's Tees Valley Mayor candidate Chris McEwan. (Image: LABOUR NORTH)

The announcement comes as analysis reveals the gap in earnings between people in London and the North East stands at £26,221 – a rise of £5,321 from 2019.

When asked how Labour will make this a reality following the Conservatives’ Levelling Up initiative, Mr Streeting stated that the party have been “listening to people and planning”.

He said: “Rishi Sunak let the cat out the bag when he revealed that he had changed the formula put in place which made sure the North East got its fair share and it wasn’t all about London and the South.

“He boasted about diverting money to Royal Tunbridge Wells.”

He added: “I say to people before May 2, think about the difference you can make if there are good Labour councils, a Labour mayor working with a Labour government after the general election.

“There is enormous potential to unlock in this region and there is absolutely no reason why in Teesside and Hartlepool the best days aren’t ahead.”

During his visit, Mr Streeting participated in campaigning in Hartlepool with the party’s candidate Jonathan Brash and Hartlepool Labour councillor Brenda Harrison.

He said: “It’s great to be back in Hartlepool campaigning with Brenda, Jonathan and the local Labour team. We’ve got a really strong team here who are going to be working hard for every vote in the May 2 elections.

“Even with the backdrop of this abysmal Conservative government we’ve got the chance to make a real difference here in Hartlepool and across the Tees Valley if people put their faith in Labour.

“I really hope that when the elections come, not only can we have a Labour council here in Hartlepool and a Labour Mayor in the Tees Valley but also a Labour government to combine all three pulling in the same direction.”

As the local elections are just over a month away, Mr Streeting affirmed the party has been working hard to build up trust in the region once again after Conservative MP Jill Mortimer was elected in 2019.

He said: “We have learned the hard way never to take voters for granted and that’s why we’ve been back to Hartlepool several times since the by-elections.


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“We wanted to show people in Hartlepool that we got the message and that we were determined to change and that we would not give up on the town because they felt the Labour party wasn’t the same one they knew and loved for many years.

“We have been working hard to re-build that trust, we have been on people’s doorsteps listening to people and talking about their concerns. That has directly informed Labour’s manifesto for May but also for the general election.

“I hope that when the elections come people bear in mind that the Conservatives have had 14 years now – they have had plenty of time, chances and Prime Ministers to get their act together and they’ve failed spectacularly.”