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Conservative Ben Houchen holds on as mayor in key Tees Valley race

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Conservative Lord Ben Houchen has held on to the Tees Valley mayoralty, providing a glimmer of hope for Rishi Sunak in an otherwise grim set of local election results.

Houchen, who has been mayor of the north-east region since 2017, beat Labour rival Chris McEwan with around 54 per cent of the vote on Friday to win a third term in office.

His majority was considerably reduced from his previous margin in 2021, when Houchen stormed to victory with 73 per cent of the vote.

The victory was nonetheless a boon to the Conservative party nationally, as local election results elsewhere so far indicate heavy Tory losses in councils across the country.

Labour also comfortably won the Blackpool South constituency from the Tories last night in a separate by-election.

This is a developing story

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