Labour’s Kim McGuinness re-elected as Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner
After a night of damaging election defeats for Labour in many parts of the North East, Ms McGuinness provided a major boost for the party by holding onto her post with relative ease.
The race went to a second round of counting, but the former Newcastle councillor came out way ahead of nearest challenger Duncan Crute of the Conservatives.
After the first round of counting, Ms McGuinness had a lead of around 60,000 over Mr Crute but did not manage to secure the 50% of the overall vote needed to end the contest there.
Under the supplementary vote system used in PCC elections, the bottom two candidates were then knocked out and their voters’ second preferences added to the tallies of the remaining candidates.
That meant the end of the road for Liberal Democrat Peter Maughan and independent Julian Kilburn.
After the second round of counting, Ms McGuinness polled 206,467 to Mr Crute’s 139,875 – slightly extending her big lead from the first round.
Speaking after the result was declared at the Silksworth sports centre in Sunderland, Ms McGuinness said she was “really proud” of her record as PCC and vowed to work to prevent a potential rise in crime linked to the unemployment and deprivation caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
But her convincing victory bucked the trend seen by Labour candidates in much of the North East.
The re-elected PCC said: “It has been a difficult 24 hours, there have been some really fantastic Labour councillors in a lot of our region who have lost their seats and I am really sad about that.
“We have heard Keir [Starmer] say we have not been able to get our message out there. We are in power here, we are able to make a difference. But nationally Labour are not in power and not able to show what they would do during this Covid period, and apparently have not been able to get the message across about what it would look like with Labour in power.
“There is a lot of work to do. It is not a molehill, it’s a mountain we have to climb and I think we need to get onto it straight away.”
The Northumbria PCC role covers the areas of Sunderland, South Tyneside, Northumberland, Gateshead, Newcastle and North Tyneside.
The purpose of the role is to hold police forces to account and ensure they are running effectively, with direct responsibility for running the force remaining with the chief constable.
It is the fourth time that voters here have gone to the polls to elect a commissioner, the first time being in 2012.
Ms McGuinness was elected in a by-election in 2019 to succeed Dame Vera Baird.
Turnout across the Northumbria force area was 36.9% – far higher than the 15% for the 2019 by-election, which was not held on the same day as other local elections.
2019 was a considerably closer race, with independent Georgina Hill entering the run-off and getting back to within 6,000 votes of the Labour frontrunner.