At my first meeting with Ray Mallon after being elected, he informed me that he supported George Osborne’s failed economic policies, even after David Cameron promised to target the North East and Northern Ireland for spending cuts in April 2010. As Mr Mallon is a former leading supporter of the Big Society and someone who previously spoke at Conservative Conference in his role as a Tory advisor, I welcome his change of heart.
Unfortunately, I think Mr Mallon is being naive to think that he can convince the Tories to give Middlesbrough the money it needs two and a half years into this Government. Mr Mallon has not been able to deliver this previously, despite the fact that he claimed to have influence with senior national Conservative politicians before the election. I will, of course, continue to fight for a fairer deal for Teesside and East Cleveland from the Government, as I have done for the past two and a half years, whether that is in terms of local government, health, police or fire funding.