A businessman has become the first to throw his hat into the ring in the race to become the elected mayor of the North East.
Entrepreneur Jeremy Middleton, CBE, has announced he will seek the Conservative Party nomination for the role, which will be a critical part of the Government’s plans to devolve greater powers to the region.
The new mayor will head the North East Combined Authority, which brings together representatives of Sunderland, Newcastle, Gateshead, North and South Tyneside, Northumberland and Durham County Councils.
The combined authority will be given extensive devolved powers over areas critical to business development, such as planning and transport.
Jeremy Middleton is a self-made businessman who has been a board member of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) since 2011 and chairs the LEP’s Investment Fund, which makes recommendations to the board for the £25million Growing Places Fund, and £30million Infrastructure Fund.
He describes himself as a “moderate, pro-European Conservative with a strong affinity to the Cameron/Osborne agenda” and is a former chairman of the Conservative National Convention.