Sunak Hails “New Age of Optimism”, Jokes About WhatsApp Outage

Guido was on hand to hear Rishi Sunak’s introductory speech at Ben Houchen’s Northern Powerhouse Leaders’ Lunch this afternoon. With an opening gag that last night’s WhatsApp outage was “the longest time I’ve had in this job without Ben Houchen messaging me“, Sunak claimed that there is a “new age of optimism” in the north thanks to Red Wall Tories, and heaped them with praise for “helping to change our party and change our country“. “In me, you have a Chancellor who is going to be with you every step of the way,” he added. Houchen thanked Rishi by gifting him a celebratory coin forged from some of the last iron made on Teesside. It looks like Rishi’s still a popular man amongst his peers…

mdi-timer 5 October 2021 @ 14:27 5 Oct 2021 @ 14:27 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
BREAKING: Houchen Wins Tees Valley Mayor Race with 73% of Vote

Incredible result from the Tees Valley, as Ben Houchen wins re-election with 73% of the vote, up from his 2017 score of just 51.1%. A landslide.

The scores in total:

Houchen (Con): 121,964

Jacobs (Lab): 45,641

Turnout up as well, from 21.3% to 33.95%…

mdi-timer 7 May 2021 @ 15:52 7 May 2021 @ 15:52 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Tees Valley Mayor’s Patriotic Road Renaming Campaign

Following Guido’s coverage of Birmingham council’s David Brent-inspired woke street naming, Tees Valley mayor Ben Houchen was more than keen to point out he is determined to stand against this trend: instead campaigning in the complete opposite direction. This week he launched a personal campaign to see Teesside street “Council of Europe Boulevard” renamed after local D-Day and industry hero Stanley Hollis. Ironically for Brexiteer Ben Houchen, his mayoral office is situated on the absurdly-named street…

The street was renamed as such in 1990, changing from “Trafalgar Street”, despite – as Houchen writes in a letter to Stockton Council – not believing “that there is, or ever was, any sympathy for this name change from local people”:

“There is hardly a more prominent but inappropriately named road in Teesside than ‘Council of Europe Boulevard'”.

Birmingham: watch and learn…

mdi-timer 11 December 2020 @ 10:16 11 Dec 2020 @ 10:16 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Labour’s Tees Mayoral Candidate Refuses to Answer Question on Election Performance

Over the last year, politics in Teesside has been completely uprooted. Labour has lost control of Darlington, Stockton and Hartlepool council, lost the Middlesbrough mayoralty, lost half their seats in Redcar and lost their majority on Middlesbrough council; in the General Election, the Tories beat Labour’s regional votes by over 10,000. Going well for Labour then…

Despite the regional wipeout, in a BBC interview yesterday Labour’s Tees Valley mayoral candidate failed to comprehend why being asked about Labour’s collapse was “relevant”. Candidate Jessie Joe Jacobs was asked why Labour has siphoned so many votes. She flatly refused to answer the question…

“I don’t want to answer that one.”

Current Tory mayor Ben Houchen responded with all guns blazing, saying

“This is what happens when Labour parachute in a Corbynista candidate who has no real world experience. Let’s not forget, local Labour members weren’t allowed to select their candidate and this is what they’ve been lumped with. A remainiac who can’t even answer the most basic of questions about the local area.”

Westminster politicos were worried things would get boring after the general election result – doesn’t seem that way out in the regions…

mdi-timer 23 January 2020 @ 13:00 23 Jan 2020 @ 13:00 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Andy McDonald Eyeing up Tees Valley Mayoral Run

Teesside is awash with rumours that Shadow Transport Secretary Andy McDonald is considering following in the footsteps of other Labour luminaries like Andy Burnham, Dan Jarvis and Steve Rotheram by packing in his Westminster career to take up a Metro Mayoral post instead. Guido hears that the Middlesbrough MP has all but abandoned hope of actually becoming Transport Secretary in a Corbyn Government and has designs on taking over his local fiefdom instead. McDonald is more likely to do a Jarvis and carry on as an MP if he wins in May 2020, rather than follow his namesake Andy and give up his seat…

Tory Brexiteer Ben Houchen won a shock victory over Labour in the inaugural contest in 2017, he’s been a champion of free ports which Boris has now enthusiastically adopted as his own policy. Labour got trashed at the local elections in May, losing control of all five councils including McDonald’s own in Middlesbrough which had been Labour since 1974. A tired old shadow cabinet face may find it harder than he thinks to just waltz into the job…

UPDATE: McDonald has said it’s “utter nonsense”. Time will tell…

mdi-timer 24 July 2019 @ 11:43 24 Jul 2019 @ 11:43 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Boris Pledges Free Ports 150,000 Jobs Boost

In his Teesside visit today Boris took the opportunity to back what he described as a “well-written report” by Ben Houchen, Mayor of the Tees Valley advocating the introduction of ‘free ports’ to the UK to transform the coastal communities that surround the UK’s ports. Free ports are areas where tariffs do not apply, allowing companies to import, store, and re-export goods without dealing with tax or government bureaucracy. Sounds good to Guido…

Boris has promised to launch an immediate review into setting up free ports across the UK to encourage investment, and to introduce pilot free ports as soon as possible after the UK leaves the EU on 31 October. Some studies say that introducing free ports could increase employment in the North of England by 150,000. Bring it on!

mdi-timer 5 July 2019 @ 12:29 5 Jul 2019 @ 12:29 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments