Newcastle businessman Charlie Hoult has been selected as the Conservative candidate for the North of Tyne mayoral elections in May.
Mr Hoult, who runs a fourth-generation family business and is a local digital industries campaigner, was selected by members of the Conservative Party in the region last week over former North Tyneside Mayor Linda Arkley and will now campaign to become the first North of Tyne Mayor at inaugural elections on Thursday, May 2.
His campaign will focus on creating more jobs, improving skills provision, driving up education standards and championing the region.
“I am buzzing to fight this election as the Conservative candidate for the North of Tyne Mayor election,” Mr Hoult said. “It’s an opportunity to put belief back into our region: pride, confidence, ambition and growth.
“This is a key role as cheer-leader of opportunity and a beacon for the whole community. Devolution is a spur to controlling our own destiny, starting with £600million of government investment to drive a surge in jobs and business growth, turbo-charge our education, invest in better homes and towns and attract billions of pounds of inward investment.
“I have experience from connecting industry, education and government so we can drive the region into the next industrial revolution and I have the passion and grit this job needs.
“Tees Valley Mayor, Ben Houchen, has shown the impact a Conservative mayor has on a region. It’s about the drive of Northern family values, of enterprise and opportunity – components that will drive this campaign.
“The past casts a long shadow over the North East but I want to be the North of Tyne Mayor to inspire our region to think bigger and get in shape for the next Industrial Revolution."
Mr Hoult's opponents on the ballot paper will be Labour's Jamie Driscoll, John Appleby for the Lib Dems and independent John McCabe.