Labour are celebrating after winning the Mayoral election in North Tyneside.
Candidate Norma Redfearn, deputy party leader on North Tyneside Council, was elated after securing more than 50 per cent of the votes in the first round – the first time it has happened in the history of the mayoral system in the borough.
The former headteacher got just over 55 per cent of the votes with 27,905, beating outgoing Mayor Linda Arkley who secured 18,083 votes. Liberal Democrat candidate Dr John Appleby was third with 4,054 votes.
Mrs Readfearn, who will now stand down from her Riverside ward seat, is now preparing for her first day on the job next Tuesday.
Speaking to the News Guardian, she said: “This is a fantastic result, the fist time it has been won after the first count.
“Myself and my team were out listening to the residents. A lot of them said it was the first time it had happened.”
Mrs Redfearn also outlined her first tasks as Mayor, which will including looking to bring back wardens to sheltered accommodation, looking at the council’s finances and help make estates look better.
Outgoing Mayor Linda Arkley, who lost to Labour’s John Harrison in 2005, said she was disappointed with the result.
“I ran a really good campaign on the issues which I knew are at the heart of residents,” she said.
“I’ve given four years to the council, I’m delighted with the progress I’ve made in North Tyneside.
“I can look around and see what I’ve achieved. The biggest thing I’m proud of is the enterprise zone, that’s helping bring job opportunities to residents, especially the young.”
LibDem candidate Dr Appleby believed that national issues had affected his party’s votes.
He said: “I was a little bit disappointed but not surprised.
“It should be decided on local issues but I believe, for our party, that national issues were taken into consideration.”
A total of 50,417 votes were cast, a turnout of 32.07 per cent.
Norma Redfearn (Lab) - 27,905
Linda Arkley (Con) - 18,083
Dr John Appleby (LibDem) - 4,054