Jessie Joe Jacobs selected as Labour’s Tees Valley mayor candidate

Sienna Rodgers

Jessie Joe Jacobs has been selected as Labour’s candidate for the 2020 Tees Valley mayoral election. She hopes to become the UK’s first female directly elected metro mayor in May next year.

Backed by Unite, the charity founder received a broad range of support within the party, securing nominations from Unison, Usdaw, CWU, FBU, ASLEF and the Co-operative Party.

Labour members only got a say in the selection via local party nominations, however, as the one other applicant who was interviewed after receiving the required nominations – Dan Smith – was not shortlisted by the party panel.

Smith, an engineer from Thornaby who works for Paul Williams MP, had received three nominations from CLPs and no trade union nominations, whereas Jessie Joe Jacobs secured the formal support of all seven local parties and every union.

A decision was made, and approved by Labour’s national executive committee (NEC), not to reopen nominations or undertake an affirmative member ballot, according to the BBC’s Richard Moss.

The metro mayor role is currently held by Ben Houchen, a Conservative who unexpectedly won in 2017 after gaining 51.1% of the vote compared to Labour candidate Sue Jeffrey’s 48.9%.

Jessie Joe Jacobs set up the charity A Way Out in Stockton for vulnerable women and young people caught up in addiction and prostitution. She has expressed a particular interest in developing policies to help those groups as metro mayor.

The candidate also intends to focus on jobs and transport as two key policy areas if elected in May 2020, and she has said that tackling the climate crisis would form part of her plan for transforming Tees Valley.

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