LABOUR’S Jamie Driscoll has been elected as the first mayor of the new North of Tyne Combined Authority.

Mr Driscoll, who said he was proud to be labelled a socialist during his acceptance speech, will serve the authority covering Northumberland, North Tyneside and Newcastle for the next five years.

He failed to receive more than 50 per cent of first preference votes, but his total of 62,034 meant he was in a commanding position as he and runner-up Charlie Hoult (45,494), for the Conservatives, went head-to-head in stage two of the vote. Mr Driscoll’s tally of 14,828 second choice votes gave him a total of 76,862, with Mr Hoult ending with 60,089 overall after 14,595 second choice votes.

Mr Driscoll’s first day in the post was on Tuesday and he listed creating a climate change liaison group, improving education, creating community hubs and establishing a people’s bank among his main priorities.

He said: “My opponents have labelled me a socialist, and that is a label I am proud to wear.”

“Socialism is about levelling the playing field so everybody, whether born into a rich family or a poor one, grows up to be the best person they can be in a society which helps a person back on their feet when they stumble.

“People have voted for these socialist policies because they knew they would bring security to their lives and these policies will be delivered.”

During his acceptance speech on Friday, Mr Driscoll took the opportunity to have a swipe at the Conservatives party. He said his opponents had created a state of chaos, and it was over to the Labour party to clean up the mess created.

“The Tory party has been rejected not simply for bungling Brexit negotiations, but it’s a verdict of derelict politics created by a derelict government,” he said.

“Local councils have been hit for making devastating cuts to services forced on them by the Tory government. Our people have rejected the chaos of a private, rented sector where their kids can be kicked out of their homes with a month’s notice.”

Mr Driscoll also had a dig at Hexham’s MP Guy Opperman, saying: “Women born in the 50s live with the chaos of seeing their pensions disappear and being told to get apprenticeships by an ignorant pensions minister.”