Conservative Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen has branded the General Election as a "horror show" for the party following a devastating defeat that saw them retain a single seat in the North East. 

The red wall was rebuilt across the region last night (July 4) as the nation went to the polls - spelling disaster for the Tories as more than seven North East Tory MPs lost their seats.

Sir Simon Clarke, Peter Gibson and Jacob Young are just some of the casualties as Labour managed to cinch a whopping 412 seats - notably winning Hartlepool and Newton Aycliffe and Spennymoor which turned blue in the 2019 election.

Ben Houchen.Ben Houchen. (Image: CHRIS BOOTH)

Now, Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen, who was re elected in May for a third term, has reacted with disappointment to the results as himself and Stockton West MP Matt Vickers remain as the only Conservative politicians in the North East.

He said: “Last night was a horror show for the Conservative Party. Hardworking, good local MPs lost their seats by just a handful of votes, because of Westminster nonsense that people had enough of. 

“As I’ve proven over my seven years in office I will work cross party with anyone who wants the best for our region. 

“People are fed up of party politics and elections, they simply want the basics delivered. I congratulate all local MPs on their election but my plea is not to play cheap political games and to deliver for the people they represent.”

Peter Gibson, who narrowly lost his seat in Darlington by a narrow margin of 2,298 votes remarked following his defeat that he is "very sad" to have 

He told The Northern Echo: "I feel very sad to have not won - naturally, I'm losing my job, and my team will be losing their jobs as a result of tonight's decision.

"I have done my best to serve this town to the very best of my ability. I think we have made some transformational investments and decisions that will stay with Darlington long in to the future.


"I leave with my head held high knowing that I have done a good job. I know from the conversations I have had that I have secured jobs, and long-term careers here in Darlington.

"That's life-changing."

Meanwhile, the second story of the night was the rise of Reform UK. The party pulled into second place in a host of constituencies across the region.

The exit poll predicted Reform would secure its first North East seat in Hartlepool, but Labour beat Nigel Farage’s party by more than 7,000 seats.

Meanwhile, Farage and Richard Tice were among four reform MPs elected to Parliament.

Rishi Sunak, who held onto his Richmond and Northallerton seat with a sizable majority conceded defeat nationally to Sir Keir.

Mr Sunak said: “The Labour Party has won this General Election, and I’ve called Sir Keir Starmer to congratulate him on his victory.

"The British people have delivered a sobering verdict tonight, there is much to learn… and I take responsibility for the loss.


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But in London moments later Sir Keir was giving a jubilant victory speech in the Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall, less than a mile from the South Bank where Tony Blair gave his own victory speech in 1997.

Surrounded by signs bearing the words “Change begins”, Sir Keir addressed a crowd of Labour members including former leader Lord Neil Kinnock and Mayor of London Sadiq Khan.

As he left the stage to applause and stamping feet, he embraced and kissed his wife, Victoria.